Michael Sailstorfer

Vattenfall Contemporary 2012

Michael Sailstorfer (*1979 Velden/Vils), is the prize-winner of “Vattenfall Contemporary 2012”. This choice pays tribute to an artistic position that re-questions and extends the classical concept of sculpture. In his often lavishly produced works he creates new, unfamiliar relations between everyday objects and processes, so generating images with great poetic effect.

The central motif of his first major solo exhibition in Berlin is the forest. Five trees in the installation Forst, hanging upside down and revolving around their own axes, take up the whole of the 10-metre high exhibition space. While Sailstorfer brings nature into the exhibition space here, with his second work Schwarzwald (Black Forest) he takes art into nature: he produced a square field in an area of forest using black paint, which is reminiscent of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square dating from 1914/15. Its slow disintegration, triggered by natural processes, is watched over by a video camera and transmitted via live stream to a screen in the exhibition space.

Sailstorfer studied under Olaf Metzel at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and at Goldsmiths College in London. To date, it has been possible to see solo exhibitions of his work in the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2008), the Kestner Society Hanover (2010/11), the S.M.A.K. in Genth (2011), and Kunsthalle Nuremberg (2011).

The prize "Vattenfall Contemporary" is a re-conception of the “Vattenfall Kunstpreis Energie”, which has been awarded annually since 1992, experiencing its 20th anniversary this year. The prize was re-conceived in collaboration with the Berlinische Galerie in 2010. Since then it has been presented to internationally acclaimed artists living and working in Berlin.


The prize Vattenfall Contemporary represents a new conception of the “Vattenfall Kunstpreis Energie”, which had been presented on an annual basis since 1992. In 2010 the prize was re-designed in collaboration with the Berlinische Galerie. Since then, it has been awarded to internationally acclaimed artists living and working in Berlin. The accolade includes a solo exhibition in the Berlinische Galerie, the production of an exhibition catalogue, and a guaranteed acquisition for the Vattenfall Collection. Previous prizewinners have been Julian Rosefeldt (2010) and Angela Bulloch (2011). 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the art prize.

The members of the jury for Vattenfall Contemporary were: 
Magnus af Petersen, Head of Exhibitions and Collections, Moderna Museet, Stockholm; 
Angela Bulloch, prizewinner of Vattenfall Contemporary 2011; 
Udo Bekker, Board member HR, Vattenfall Europe AG; 
Hanna Marie Ebert, Manager of Corporate Art – Vattenfall Collection; 
Dr. Thomas Köhler, Director of the Berlinische Galerie; 
Dr. Heinz Stahlhut, Head of the Fine Art Collection, Berlinische Galerie


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Landesmuseum für Moderne
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