Remy Jungerman wins Heineken Prize 2022

We are proud to announce that visual artist Remy Jungerman is receiving the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art 2022. The jury praises the artist for the way he interweaves the cultures of the countries that define him: Suriname, the Netherlands, and the United States. By using geometric patterns and horizontals composed of panels varying of length, width, and colour, Jungerman creates a unique style and an extensive layering in his work. This form and connection of traditions offers the audience a new visual language that initiates a dialogue between disparate cultures.

The Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art is the biggest visual art prize in the Netherlands. The award was established in 1988 by Alfred H. Heineken to honour and encourage top talent in the arts in their development and to enhance their international prominence as artists. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences is responsible for the nomination and selection process. Previous laureates include Ansuya Blom (2020) and Erik van Lieshout (2018).

Jungerman creates sculptures, paintings, and installations in which he combines elements from different cultures. Materials, traditions, and rituals from Africa and North and South America form the basis of his work and he incorporates them in a modernist way. Specifically, he draws much inspiration from the Maroons of Suriname, descendants of escaped enslaved people. He uses textiles from the Winti religion, which Maroons, among other beliefs and practices, adhere to, and kaolin, a porcelain clay used in this culture during rituals to purify bodies and objects. In his large installations, he also uses other materials from rituals. He wants to use the aesthetics of these materials to tell new stories.

Jury praises combination of different traditions

The jury, chaired by Patricia Pisters, professor of Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam, is impressed by the body of work that Jungerman has steadily built up. In his installations, sculptures, paintings, and prints, he repeatedly manages to combine visual elements from different traditions in original ways. Although visually abstract, the jury describes

his art as simultaneously physical and grounded. For example, in his work Visiting Deities, an installation around a long table of kaolin-treated blue-and-white and black-and-white chequered textiles, he uses Dutch river clay and water samples from the Amstel, Hudson, and Cottica rivers. Rivers on the three continents between which Jungerman travels. This layering makes the viewer think, according to the jury. Jungerman explains: ‘I thought it was important to install this table at the Venice Biennale. The Giardini, where the Biennale is held, has always been a glorification of the colonial past. There, all the rich countries could exhibit the wealth they had amassed from free labour through their colonies. As someone who comes from former colonial territory, I wanted to use the table to purify the space, and in doing so, to start the conversation.’

Follow-up research into Gee’s Bend quilts

Jungerman will receive €100,000 funded by a private fund, the Dr. A.H. Heineken Foundation for the Arts; half of this is earmarked for a publication and/or exhibition. The award will allow Jungerman to broaden his field of work. For example, in the United States he plans to research Gee’s Bend quilts, a type of blanket made by women from the isolated African-American community of Gee’s Bend. They use similar geometries to the early Maroon shoulder cloths from the previous century. Jungerman wants to discover what the similarities are and, in doing so, tell the great story of that geometric journey from the African continent to North and South America.

ABOUT Remy Jungerman

Remy Jungerman was born in 1959 in Moengo, Suriname
He lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and New York, US

Remy Jungerman attended the Academy for Higher Arts and Cultural Studies in Paramaribo, Surinam, before moving to Amsterdam where he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.

In his work, Jungerman explores the intersection of pattern and symbol in Surinamese Maroon culture, the larger African diaspora, and 20th century Modernism. Placing fragments of Maroon textiles and other materials found in the African diaspora – the kaolin clay used in several religious traditions or the nails featured in Nkisi Nkondi power sculpture – in direct contact with materials and imagery drawn from more “established” art traditions, Jungerman presents a peripheral vision that enriches our perspective on art history.

In 2022 Jungerman received the A.H. Heineken Prize for Art, the biggest visual art prize in the Netherlands. From November 20, 2021 – April 10, 2022 he was the subject of a career survey show at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam titled Remy Jungerman: Behind the Forest. In 2019, Jungerman represented the Netherlands at the 58th Venice Biennale with the impressive Visiting Deities installation. Later that year, the artist had his introduction exhibition Neap Tide at Galerie Ron Mandos. In 2017 he was nominated for the Black Achievement Award in The Netherlands. In 2008 he received the Fritschy Culture Award from the Museum het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands. Jungerman is co-founder and curator of the Wakaman Project, drawing Lines – connecting dots. Wakaman, which means “walking man,” was born out of a desire to examine the position of visual artists of Surinamese origin and to raise their profile(s) on the international stage.

Remy Jungerman’s work is included in various collections: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands, Kunstmuseum, The Hague, The Netherlands, Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, The Netherlands, ABN AMRO Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, AkzoNobel Art Collection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Rennie Museum, Vancouver, Canada, Art Omi, Ghent, New York, USA, US Embassy, Paramaribo, Suriname, Hudson Vally MOCA, Peekskill, New York, USA, Francis Greenburger Collection, New York, USA, Saamaka Marron Museum, and various private collections.

Visit the website of the artist here.