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The recipients of the 19th PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE 2007 GRANT FOR YOUNG ARTISTS

20 September 2007

The Japan Art Association proudly announces the recipients of the 19th PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE as follows:

Daniel Buren Painting

Tony Cragg Sculpture

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron Architecture

Daniel Barenboim Music

Ellen Stewart Theatre/film


The artists are recognized and awarded for their achievements, for the impact they have had internationally on the arts, and for their role in enriching the global community. Each recipient receives 15 million yen (c. $125,000), and a diploma and medal presented by honorary patron of the Japan Art Association Prince Hitachi in an awards ceremony in Tokyo. The awards ceremony will be held in Tokyo on October 16th, 2007.

The Praemium Imperiale is an annual award given by the Japan Art Association for global achievement in the arts. Since its beginning in 1989, the award has become a mark of the highest international distinction. The 2007 laureates join a roster of 92 artists, including Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Renzo Piano, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Ravi Shankar.

ANNOUNCEMENT IN PARIS
The main announcement took place in Paris at the Japanese Cultural Center on September 20th in the presence of Prince and Princess Hitachi.


2007 GRANT FOR YOUNG ARTISTS

The Grant for Young Artists was awarded to:

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra



The award was announced on September 20th at a press conference in Paris at the Japanese Cultural Center. The orchestra will receive 5 million yen (c. $41,000) to assist efforts to help young musicians in the Middle East.


The 2007 Praemium Imperiale recipients are:

Painting
Daniel Buren
Born March 25, 1938 France

Daniel Buren introduced a breath of fresh air into the world of conceptual art with his pioneering site-specific works. Since 1965 he has used regular contrasting stripes that he calls "a seeing tool." The width of the trademark stripes is always a standard 8.7 centimeters. Through the years, he has positioned these stripes with various media on canvas, cloth and objects. Buren gained public attention in 1969 and 1970 by putting up hundreds of unauthorized striped posters in metro stations in Paris and Tokyo. In 1986, his controversial work of striped columns, Two Plateaus, at the Palais Royal courtyard drew great attention and assured his status as a leading artist. Later in the same year he represented France at the Venice Biennale and won the Golden Lion Award. He has exhibited widely in Europe, America and Japan. He says he has come to Japan nearly 200 times since 1970, and continues to question worldwide the nature of artistic conception and perception.

Sculpture
Tony Cragg
Born April 9, 1949 UK

The British sculptor Tony Cragg studied art at the Wimbledon School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art after having worked as a laboratory technician. After graduation, he moved to the German city of Wuppertal in 1977. Cragg is recognized as one of the leading figures in the “New British SculptureEmovement; a 1980s movement that searched for new meaning in sculpture. In his early works he used materials such as plastic, glass and other industrial materials combining them to produce works that are suggestive of human figures, landscapes, vessels and other man-made objects. Cragg developed countless new possibilities in the making of sculpture. His use of both man-made and natural objects both as images and forms reflects a search for the essence of materials and the relationship of man to nature. In the mid-80s he has started to use more traditional materials, such as steel, bronze and synthetic materials, but his mastery goes beyond form and material. In addition to making sculpture and drawings, Cragg is currently creating a sculpture park in his adopted city of Wuppertal, which will be open to the public in 2008.

Architecture
Jacques Herzog  Born April 19, 1950 Switzerland
Pierre de Meuron  Born May 8, 1950 Switzerland

The Swiss architect team "Herzog & de Meuron" opened their joint office in their hometown Basel in 1978. The two architects have known each other since childhood, and both studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. They claimed international attention with domestic projects such as the Ricola Storage Building (1987) and the Central Signal Box (1999). Their international projects include the conversion of a former power station into the Tate Modern (2000) in London and the Prada Aoyama Epicenter (2003) in Tokyo. In 2001, the team won the Pritzker Prize and were noted for "refining traditions of modernism to elemental simplicity, while transforming materials and surfaces through the exploration of new treatments and techniques." Herzog and de Meuron, both avid soccer fans, designed the soccer stadium in Basel and the World Cup soccer stadium Allianz Arena (2005) in Munich. The Main Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing is now under construction.

Music
Daniel Barenboim
Born November 15, 1942 Argentina

Born in Buenos Aires of Russian-Jewish eacute;migreacute; roots, Daniel Barenboim was a child prodigy and gave his debut piano concert at the age of seven. The family moved to Israel when he was 10. He studied conducting with Igor Markevich in Salzburg, and made his conducting debut in 1962. From the 1970s, he had positions as music director of Orchestre de Paris, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. With a wide repertoire reaching from Bach to Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler to contemporary composers, Barenboim is acclaimed for his precise musical expression that embodies both the instinct of the pianist and the skill of the conductor. Barenboim’s controversial performance in Israel in 2001 of a piece by Wagner, a composer widely condemned there as anti-Semitic, points to Barenboim’s involvement in activities as a political force. Through his work with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a youth orchestra that he founded in 1999 with late Palestinian-American scholar and friend Edward Said, he continues in his search for a path to peace in the Middle East.

Theatre/film
Ellen Stewart
Born November 7, 1919 USA

Ellen Stewart founded the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in downtown New York in 1961. Since then, her groundbreaking vision as a creator, director and producer has encouraged some of the most important performing art talents in the world. Stewart came to New York in 1950, aspiring to be a fashion designer, and became the first African American executive designer at Saks Fifth Avenue. With her earnings as a designer, she committed to making an environment for struggling playwrights to fully develop their talents. In a period of strong racial prejudice, she had to defend the theater space she created and frequently had to change its location after being accused of operating without a license. She jokingly says that rather than theater she was originally interested in people doing theater and that nothing has changed since. Some of the artists she supported include Robert de Niro, Sam Shepard, and Andy Warhol. She has also been a champion of Asian artists, and in the 1970s, Shuji Terayama and his troupe and Tokyo Kid Brothers under Yutaka Higashi performed at La MaMa. Recently she has extended her activities, developing theater pieces based on folklore and classic tradition.


2007 GRANT FOR YOUNG ARTISTS
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian-American scholar and friend Edward Said began a workshop for young musicians from Israel and Arab countries. The purpose was to build mutual understanding despite differences. In 2005, the resulting orchestra performed a historic concert in Ramallah, a Palestinian city that symbolizes ethnic strife. The orchestra is managed by the Barenboim-Said Foundation based in Seville, Spain. Each year, young musicians who pass the spring audition are eligible to participate in the summer workshop under the guidance of Barenboim and other master artists, and play in a concert tour for two months following the workshop. Participants range in age from 14 to 28. Many members have gone on to pursue professional careers, some even have reached a level to become members of the Berlin Philharmonic.