Guyanese-born, London-based artist Frank Bowling has been announced as the winner of the 2022 Wolfgang Hahn prize. He will receive the award at a ceremony taking place November 15 of next year, the evening before Art Cologne 2022 opens. The Museum Ludwig will acquire his 2020 acrylic-on-canvas work Flogging the Dead Donkey, which comments on monochrome painting through intense red and dirty brown hues splotched with vibrant blots of color and marred with sneaker prints. The painting will be the first work by Bowling to be acquired by a German public collection.
Over six decades, Bowling, 87, has created a visual vocabulary defined by monochromatic fields of colors. His paintings borrow from American abstraction and the British landscape tradition to tell personal narratives and global histories. The title Flogging the Dead Donkey, for example, is an ironic commentary by Bowling on the relentless efforts of contemporary artists to reinvent monochrome painting, as if in doing so, they were whipping a dead donkey. Coursing through much of his work is an interest in colonialism and global diasporas.
Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig, said in a statement that in Bowling’s work, “the spirit of American color field painting as well as British abstraction combine to form an incomparable, very independent position.”
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