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The Solo Award 2020

This year’s recipient of the Solo Award is Niels Østergaard Munk (born 1992). With a number of different works, all of them stringently focused and conceptually powerful, the jury was taken aback by the artist’s subtle humour and cutting edge and by the sheer simplicity and distinct visuality of the works.

The Solo Award is presented to Niels Østergaard Munk for his artistic sensibility and playful and consistent artistic practice, moving effortlessly between media and expressions within architecture, photography, film, sculpture, performance, and text. Moreover, Niels Østergaard Munk’s works span several fields simultaneously, examining and unfolding visual, physical, and intellectual experiments. With a minimum of remedies, a powerful concept, and a consistently high quality and subtle humour, Niels Østergaard Munk examines meanings and statements in spaces, interspaces, and reference systems within the classic issues of art, language, and architecture, namely what does photography, monuments, texts embody, what defines patterns of movement in a given space, and who and what defines the position from which a statement is made and a connotative reference, respectively.

In the series Mo(nu)ment (2018) the interrelationship of moment and monument is examined. The series can be viewed as an art-historical minimalist reference and as a kind of monument to the photographic moment. An architectural cubic structure of metal sticks is depicted in various settings in nature and urban spaces. The work indicates that the photographic action is linked to a situation where the finished photograph becomes a monument to the moment.

The film Plukning af grene og afbrydning af blomster må ikke finde sted (2019) is set in the architectural spaces and landscaped garden of the urban park Amaliehaven. A black-and-white film sequence of a person moving about the garden in an exploratory manner shows a physical examination of spaces and features. A very stylised and low-key humorous examination of a person exploring bushes, steps, and features.

In the film Digter godt men rammer tit (2019) Niels Østergaard Munk has invited a man he considers to be one of Denmark’s best poets, Peter Laugesen, to converse with one of Denmark’s best football commentators, Morten Bruun. Morten Bruun reads Peter Laugesen’s poems. Laugesen reads quotes by Morten Bruun. The conversation is about football, language, and inspiration and takes place at Morten Bruun’s old club stadium in Silkeborg. The poet and the commentator read each other’s texts aloud from the centre of the pitch in the architectural setting of the empty stadium.

The jury anticipates with interest a solo presentation of Niels Østergaard Munk’s works at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition 2021.

On behalf of this year’s jury

Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg
Director, Malmö Art Museum