The Nivola Foundation announces the Iranian artist Nairy Baghramian (1971) as the recipient of the 2023 Nivola Award for Sculpture.
Previously bestowed upon Eduardo Chillida and Cy Twombly, the Nivola Award, which resumes in 2023 after a long hiatus, celebrates artists who embody the spirit of Costantino Nivola (Orani 1911 – East Hampton 1988) through their artistic exploration in the contemporary context. Nivola, a sculptor, painter, and graphic designer, was a crucial figure in the 20th-century art scene between Italy and the United States. He pursued an idea of art that transcended disciplinary boundaries, merging architecture and design, and sought to develop the individual’s potential, the relationship with the community, environmental sustainability, and the combination of design thinking with manual skills.
Throughout a career spanning over two decades, Nairy Baghramian skillfully explores the boundaries between space, form, and material. Her daring and incisive sculptural works invite reflection on the dynamics of human relationships and the complexity of social structures. Through a wide range of materials and techniques, Baghramian challenges traditional sculptural conventions, creating works that defy definitions and reveal new perspectives.
The award ceremony will take place at the Nivola Museum on September 16, 2023, 6 pm. In the summer of 2024, the artist’s exhibition, curated by Giuliana Altea, Antonella Camarda and Luca Cheri, will follow.
In conjunction with the event, a workshop for young artists will provide an opportunity for dialogue and exchange with the emerging creative generations.
“It is a pleasure for me to be able to feel connected to the work of Constantino Nivola through the award – says Nairy Baghramian-. I first encountered his works through the invitation to the Nivola Museum by Giuliana Altea and Antonella Camarda in Sardinia and later in urban spaces, in public schools, in housing projects in New York. His abstract modernist sculptures and reliefs, as a conglomerate of politically formal considerations of the post-war period, are a reminder of the socio-political potential of art today and in the future. For me, these complex formations are a plea for the democratic potential of the art of Constantino Nivola, who had to flee to the USA as an anti-fascist.”
“There could be no better artist than Nairy Baghramian to inaugurate the revived Nivola Award,” says Giuliana Altea, President of the Nivola Foundation. “She is an elusive and fascinating artist whose work satisfies us aesthetically while challenging us intellectually, reflecting the complexity of the contemporary world.”
“With the Nivola Award,” says Mayor Marco Ziranu, “the village of Orani opens itself more and more to the world. From the center of the Mediterranean, from the Pergola Village of Costantino Nivola, a message of hope emerges regarding art and culture’s role in shaping a better future for the next generations.”
Nairy Baghramian, born in 1971 in Isfahan, Iran is a visual artist living and working in Berlin since 1984. Her work has been the subject of monographic exhibitions in an array of institutions, including Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2023) Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2022), Secession, Vienna (2022), GAM, Galleria d’arte Moderna, Milan (2021), MUDAM, Luxembourg (2019); Festival d’ Automne á Paris at École des Beaux-Arts (2018); Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2018); SMK, Copenhagen (2017); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2016); S.M.A.K, Ghent (2016); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2015); Museo Serralves, Porto (2014); the Art Institute of Chicago (2014); Serpentine Gallery with Phyllida Barlow (2010); Studio Voltaire London (2009); Kunsthalle Basel (2006). Baghramian also participated at Venice Biennale (2019 and 2011); Yorkshire Sculpture International (2019); Documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens (2017), Skulptur Project Muenster (2017 and 2007); Lyon Biennale (2017); Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Scotland (2012); and the Berlin Biennale, Germany (2014 and 2008).
Baghramian has been the recipient of the Nasher Prize (2022), was a nominee for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020 and has been the recipient of the Malcolm-McLaren-Award with Maria Hassabi (2019), the Zurich Art Prize (2016); the Arnold-Bode Prize, Kassel (2014); the Hector Prize, Kunsthalle Mannheim (2012); and the Ernst Schering Foundation Award (2007)
Upcoming solo exhibitions of Nairy Baghramian include YOU ARE HERE* Contemporary Art in the Garden, MoMA, NY, Scratching the Back, Metropolitan Museum New York.
Her works are held in institutional collections as for example Museum of Modern Art, NY, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Salomon Guggenheim Collection, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Tate Modern, London, MUDAM Luxembourg, Tamayo Museum Mexico City, Jumex Museum Mexico City, Nasher Art Center, Dallas; Art Institute Chicago.
The Nivola Museum in Orani is run by the Fondazione Costantino Nivola, a non-profit cultural institution devoted to the promotion of the artistic and personal legacy of Costantino Nivola, support for contemporary art in all forms, and the cultural and social development of Sardinia.
The museum, a group of buildings set in an urban park, is home to the most important European collection of works by Costantino Nivola (Orani, 1911 – East Hampton, 1988), a graphic designer, art director, and sculptor committed to the integration of the visual arts and architecture and key figure in the cultural exchange between Italy and the United States in the twentieth century.
The museum organizes exhibitions of contemporary art with a particular focus on design, sculpture, the relationship between the arts, and that between humans and the environment. It also offers a rich program of public events and educational and research activities, acting as a cultural force oriented towards innovation and social promotion in the middle of the Mediterranean.
Ph. Christian Werner