2018 Wolfgang Hahn Prize goes to Haegue Yang, the first Asian woman artist to receive the prize.

On Friday Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig announced South Korean artist Haegue Yang as the recipient of the 2018 Wolfgang Hahn Prize.

Haegue Yang wins Wolfgang Hahn Prize 2018. Portrait of artist. Image courtesy olfgang Hahn Prize.

Haegue Yang wins Wolfgang Hahn Prize 2018. Portrait of the artist. Image courtesy Wolfgang Hahn Prize.

Since 1994, the Wolfgang Hanh Prize has been awarded annually for an internationally recognised oeuvre. In 2018 the prize has a maximum budget of EUR100,000. The prize intends to honor artists who have achieved international fame and success but who have not yet gained the attention they deserve in the context of Germany. The 24th recipient of the prestigious award, Haegue Yang will receive a solo exhibition and a catalogue. In addition, the museum will acquire works by the artist, all of which will be presented in 2018 and inaugurated with the awards ceremony in April 2018. Yang is the first Asian woman artist to win the prize, and the second Asian artist after Huang Yong Ping won the award in 2016.

The prize is named after Wolfgang Hahn (1924–1987), who was a founding member of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig and an art collector who also worked as head conservator at the Wallraf Richartz Museum. Yilmaz Dziewior, Director of the Museum Ludwig and jury member, commented on the similarities between the artist and collector:

There are numerous points of commonality between Haegue Yang’s works and the collection of the Museum Ludwig. These range from Minimalism to Conceptual Art, and from classical sculpture to participatory elements. At the same time, Haegue Yang succeeds in giving her works very sensual qualities. I have been following her work for many years and am a great admirer of her consistency. I would even venture to argue that Yang also takes up certain positions of Fluxus art, which was very significant to the collector Wolfgang Hahn. This important school is currently also on view in our exhibition Art into Life! Collector Wolfgang Hahn and the ’60s, which runs until September 24.

Haegue Yang, 'Ajar', 2012, Installation view at Chantal Crousel, Paris, 2012, Image courtesy the artist and Chantal Crousel.

Haegue Yang, ‘Ajar’, 2012, installation view at Chantal Crousel, Paris, 2012. Image courtesy the artist and Chantal Crousel.

Haegue Yang was born in 1971 in Seoul, South Korea. She graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Seoul National University, and that same year she went to Germany to continue her studies at the Städelschule in Frankfurt under Georg Herold, which she completed in 1999 as a master class student. Beginning in the winter semester of 2017/18, Yang herself will serve as a professor at the Städelschule. As a daughter of a writer and a journalist, Haegue Yang grew up in the so-called era of democratisation in South Korea as part of the first generation to be able to study under a democratic government. Kunsthaus Graz is currently holding a major exhibition of her work in two phases, “VIP’s Union”, running until April 2018.

Rebecca Close


Related Topics: Korean artists, performance art, archives, gallery shows, events in London

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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