The recipients of the 22nd PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE

Tuesday, 14 September 2010
On Tuesday, September 14, the names of the 5 new Praemium Imperiale Laureates announced in London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, New York and Tokyo. The 5 recipients are as follows:

Enrico Castellani Painting
Rebecca Horn Sculpture
Ito Toyo Architecture
Maurizio Pollini Music
Sophia Loren 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 laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million yen, and a diploma and medal will be presented by honorary patron of the Japan Art Association Prince Hitachi in an awards ceremony held in Tokyo on October 13, 2010.

The Grant for Young Artists has been also announced on September 14 in Tokyo, and 2010 recipient of the Grant is Asian Youth Orchestra based in Hong Kong. The Orchestra will receive 5 million yen to assist their efforts to help young musicians.

The 2010 Praemium Imperiale recipients are:

Enrico Castellani
For more than 50 years Italian artist, Enrico Castellani has been producing three-dimensional works created by using a nail gun on both sides of his canvases. The surface of these ‘paintings of light’ with their alternating depressions and raised areas, will, if lighted, induce exquisite light and shade effects, that can be interpreted according to one’s own perception and psychology. Castellani says, “My works exist for their own sakes and are not meant to convey any message." Although born in Castelmassa in North-Eastern Italy, he studied sculpture, painting and architecture in Belgium. On his return to Italy, he and artist Piero Manzoni founded Galleria Azimut and the journal Azimuth to promote avant-garde art. In 1959, he executed his first Superficie Nera in Rilievo (Black Surface in Relief) ; its three dimensional expression becoming the defining characteristic of all his work. He has exhibited internationally, including participation in the Venice Biannale (1966) and more recently to the Prada Foundation in Milan (2001) and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow (2005).

Rebecca Horn
Rebecca Horn has a creativity that is both thoughtful and thought provoking. Her work, whether it be sculpture, poetry, drawing, music, painting, film or photography has a tremendous precision and great logic, with new pieces building on aspects of previous works, exploring and readdressing elements that were examined in different forms, binding all her work together in a consistency of logic. Much of her early work such as Unicorn (1970/72), focuses on the equilibrium between body and space but in later works the human body is replaced by kinetic sculptures that still manage, despite their mechanical origins, to have a sense of life of their own. Through her work, Horn manages to release and refocus the history of the large buildings or spaces where she chooses to work. In Concert in Reverse (1987) in Münster, she works in an old municipal tower that was an execution site during the War. Constantly exploring, Horn searches for ways to break down boundaries of space and time, creating work that hypnotises, captivates and yet at the same time disorientates. A recent installation, Light Imprisoned in the Belly of the Whale (2002) has projected texts accompanied by the vocal and instrumental compositions of Hayden Chisholm, creating a sensory experience of graceful, subtle fragility. In June this year, she established The Moontower Foundation, a creative and meditative space, located next to her workshop, near Frankfurt.

Ito Toyo
Ito Toyo is a world−renowned conceptual architect who is both constantly innovative and globally influential. In 1965 he joined Kiyonori Kikutake Architects and Associates where he had worked part−time while studying architecture at Tokyo University. In 1971 he established his own studio, mainly designing private residential housing. He received the Architecture Institute of Japan Prize for his own house, Silver Hut (1984). His plan "to make a building light and transparent" was a new concept and attracted a lot of attention in the world of architecture. More recently, he has extended his work to commercial and public facilities. The Sendai Mediatheque, a multi−purpose cultural center opened in Sendai in 2001, made a strong impact on the world of architecture and brought him fame. Now with his innovative ideas and practicing ability he is considered to be one of the leading architects in the world. While he challenges architectural common practice by such innovative designs as TOD'S Omotesando Building (2004), he also makes buildings such as ZA−KOENJI PUBLIC THEATRE (2008) that is richly designed to enhance a sense of joy and playfulness. Now 80% of his projects are being constructed outside Japan. His designs show a deep concern for the relationships between architecture, nature and the environment and continue to attract interest around the world.

Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Pollini is regarded by many in the world of classical music as a living legend. He is especially noted for his performances of classical and romantic composers such as Chopin, but he also fulfills his artistic responsibility by championing modern composers. "Unlike architecture and painting, modern music is not a part of life for ordinary people. We need to get more youngsters to take interest in modern music." So he continues to feature 20th century composers such as Pierre Boulez and Luigi Nono in his repertoire. Born in 1942 in Milan, he started to study piano when he was 5. In 1960, when he was 18, he entered the International Frédérick Chopin Piano Contest and won the first prize by unanimous decision. Following this success he returned to his studies until 1968 when he returned to the stage, creating a sensation with his exceptional technique and analytical ability. Since then, he remains regarded as one of the finest musicians in the world. Recently, he has attracted much attention for inaugurating his own 'Pollini Project' a series of concerts in which old and new works are juxtaposed.

Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren is Italy's most significant living actress. Acclaimed as "The Sun of Italy" for her wild beauty, she has over the past sixty years continued to make her presence felt globally in the cinematic world. She has starred in over 100 movies with many of Hollywood's leading male stars, such as Cary Grant. Last year, in Nine she enthralled her fans with an outstanding performance full of intelligence and maturity. In 1991 Loren received an Academy Honorary Award for her contribution to cinema. She started her career as an actress at the age of 15, and with the recognition and support of film producer Carlo Ponti, whom she eventually married, she launched her career as a motion picture actress. She became Italy's first recipient of an Oscar with Two Women (1960), directed by Vittorio De Sica, a leading figure of neo−realism movement. Then, with her favorite leading man as well as favorite actor, Marcello Mastroianni, with whom she worked for more than 20 years and costarred in 14 films, she performed in Sunflower (1970), A Special Day (1977) and other films and established herself as one of the most eminent character actresses in the cinematic world.

Asian Youth Orchestra

The Asian Youth Orchestra was founded in 1987 by Richard Pontzious, an American who had been working as a conductor/teacher in Asia (primarily in Japan and China), together with the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin with financial aid from Hong Kong’s business world. The orchestra aims to provide a showcase for Asia’s brightest young musicians and to nurture their musical talents by exposing them to rich and varied artistic experiences while offering the chance to work with first-class international musicians. Every year, 100 musicians ranging in age from 17 to 27 are chosen from a staggering 1000 candidates through a series of highly competitive auditions held throughout Asia. After three weeks of rehearsals in Hong Kong, they embark on a three-week international concert tour, working with celebrated conductors and solo artists. Since its inaugural concerts in 1990, the AYO has played 307 concerts in 76 cities around the world. This August, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its inauguration, the AYO toured China, Korea and Japan, playing in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Tianjin, Japan’s Saga, Beppu, Kyoto and Tokyo.