VENICE – The jury of the 55th Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious art fair, has given special mention to Koki Tanaka, the first time an artist in the Japanese pavilion has won an award since the fair’s inauguration in 1895.
Tanaka’s work, “Abstract Speaking: Sharing Uncertainty and Collective Acts,” features films of five poets collaborating on a poem and other examples of teamwork.
The event organizer said Saturday that the jury decided to give the special mention to a Japanese artist “for the poignant reflection on issues of collaboration and failure” in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
The 37-year-old Tanaka said he was delighted to win the prize and that he tried to shed light through his exhibition — which explored the possibility of sharing other people’s experiences — on what collaboration can produce.
“I hope the prize I received this time will help create new communities not only in Japan, but also in other places around the world struck by disaster or war,” Tanaka said.
The award for best national exhibition was presented to Angola, whose pavilion featured a work by Edson Chagas.