True to its heritage and its enthusiasm for the art of its times, and for the fourth consecutive year, the first Parisian palace hotel (1835) has awarded a prize to help an emerging artist on the French scene gain international exposure. The prize, which has an endowment of €20,000, was jointly awarded on October 10th to Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc for Looking for Awa and to Galerie Marcelle Alix. Judges Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Ambassador for the award, Montse Aguer, Director of the Centre for Dali Studies, Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Artist and Winner of the award in 2009/10, Colette Barbier,
Director of the Ricard Corporate Foundation, Philippe Dagen, Writer and Lecturer at University of Paris I, Jennifer Flay, Director of FIAC, Marta Gili, Director of the Jeu de Paume, Henri Loyrette, Director of the Louvre, Maryvonne Pinault, Collector, Marc-Olivier Wahler, Director of the Palais de Tokyo, and Franka Holtmann, General Manager of Le Meurice, chose Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc among the 50 outstanding projects that were submitted for the prize.
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc was born in 1977. He lives in Paris. Influenced by "creolization," he structures his work around notions of collective and individual memory. For the past two years, his work has centred on Sarah Maldoror's militant filmmaking in a context of liberation movements in
"Looking for Awa", his project for the Prix Meurice, is a feature-length film that reprises the original script for Guns for Banta, a film (now lost) shot in 1970 in Guinea-Bissau by Sarah Maldoror. It returns to the various narratives and ideals of a troubled time: the end of struggles for independence in
Africa, America's defeat in Vietnam, and the intensification of the Cold War, which it sets against Africa's economic and political upheavals at the turn of the 21st century. Forty years on, Looking for Awa is a "future remake," as much an examination of militant filmmaking of the 1960s and 70s as of
Pan-Africanism, to better identify its contemporary legacy. It will be shown at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, in March 2012.
An exhibition of the six finalists' work will be shown until October 23rd, and be part of the VIP section at the FIAC contemporary art fair.
The creation of the Prix Meurice for contemporary art is part of Le Meurice's resolutely forward-looking movement; because luxury at Le Meurice is none other than an expression of creativity.