Berlin's Akademie der Künste has named Timm Ulrichs the winner of the 2020 Käthe Kollwitz Prize. The veteran German exponent of 'Total Art' will be awarded 12,000 euros, and celebrated in a major exhibition at the institution opening on 23 January.
Originally a student of architecture, Ulrichs founded "Werbezentrale für Totalkunst, Banalismus und Extemporismus” (Advertising Agency for Total Art, Banalism and Extemporaneity) in 1959, and two years later declared himself to be 'the first living work of art'. An interdisciplinary practice based on the total dissolution of any separation between art and life would prove influential on the history of contemporary art.
A jury comprising Akademie members Ute Eskildsen, Wulf Herzogenrath and Gregor Schneider praised an 'autodidact' who has worked 'far from the centres of art.' A press release by the Akademie concluded that Ulrichs' 'political action serves as an example to a younger generation'.
The Käthe Kollwitz Prize has been awarded to a visual artist every year since 1960, with recent winners including Hito Steyerl (2019), Adrian Piper (2018), Katharina Sieverding (2017), Edmund Kuppel (2016) and Bernard Frize (2015).
2 July 2019