The recipients of the 16th PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE

Tuesday, 08 June 2004

The Japan Art Association proudly announces the recipients of the 16th PRAEMIUM IMPERIALE as follows:

Architecture: OSCAR NIEMEYER

The artists are recognized and awarded for their achievements, for the impact they have had internationally on the arts, and for their role in enriching the global community. The five recipients each receive 15 million yen(c. $135,000), and a diploma and medal presented by honorary patron of the Japan Art Association Prince Hitachi in an awards ceremony in Tokyo. The awards ceremony will be held on October 21st, 2004.

The Praemium Imperiale is an annual award given by the Japan Art Association for global achievement in the arts. Since its beginning in 1989, the award has become a mark of the highest international distinction. The 2004 laureates join a roster of 77 artists, including Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jean-Claude, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Renzo Piano, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Ravi Shankar.

The announcement press conference took place at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin on June 8th. Dr. von Weizsäcker hosted the event on behalf of the Japan Art Association., and German Federal President Rau held the celebration dinner at Pergamon Museum. Dr. von Weizsäcker serves, along with Umberto Agnelli, Raymond Barre, Edward Heath, William Luers, Yasuhiro Nakasone on an advisory panel to the Japan Art Association. Japan Art Association executives and advisors attended the Berlin announcement.

The Grant for Young Artists was awarded to The Young Sound Forum of Central Europe. The award was announced on June 8th at the Japanese Embassy in Berlin. The orchestra will receive 5 million yen(c.$45,000) to assist their efforts to help young musicians hold concerts.

Aside from attending the main announcement of the 2004 Praemium Imperiale in Berlin, international advisors organized various events on June 7th in celebration of the 16th Praemium Imperiale. Sir Edward Heath invited press and arts related persons to a reception for the London celebration of the 2004 announcement. Raymond Barre announced the 2004 laureates at a press luncheon in Paris. In Tokyo, Yasuhiro Nakasone held a press luncheon at the Japan National Press Club, and in New York a full-page advertisement in the New York Times will introduce the 2004 laureates.


Georg Baseitz was born in Deutschbaselitz, in what was later East Germany, in 1938. He is regarded as one of the foremost artists of Germany, and has been accorded retrospective exhibitions internationally - a current show in Bonn features 45 years of Baselitz' work.
Baselitz has strongly influenced the generation of painters that came of age during the early 1980’s, but he is not a Neo-Expressionist. Although his paintings may remain deeply engaged with the problems of the postwar period in Germany, in his career Baselitz has always attempted to make a stylistic break with what he had done in the past. Moreover, his artistic imagination draws on the entire inventory of Western art and culture.


Bruce Nauman was born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since the mid-1960’s he has created a far-ranging body of work that underlines his determination to describe the human condition in all its contradictions. His conceptual work stresses meaning over form and often uses irony and wordplay to raise issues about alienation. Like many of his peers in the 1960’s, Nauman was expanding artistic practice by introducing performance into his work, moving away from static objects to create an art of experience. The performance-based works offer investigations of our most basic physical emotions and psychological states.
Bruce Nauman is one of the most influential artists today and has set standards both in the diversity of his artistic means and the breadth of his concerns.


Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1907. Niemeyer worked with Le Corbusier on the United Nations Headquaters in New York, and in 1957 was appointed to implement Lucio Costa's plans for Brazil's new capital, designing most of the city's important buildings. Niemeyer is recognized as one of the first to pioneer new concepts in architecture. He developed a fluid, sculptural style, using reinforced concrete to create dramatic structures that reflect the natural, flowing curves of Rio de Janerio’s mountains, beaches and bay.
Like his mentors, Lucio Costa and Le Corbusier, he was a Modernist, but his pursuit of great architecture linked to the roots of his native land resulted in new forms and a lyricism in buildings, not only for Brazil, but for the world. Niemeyer, now 96 years old, continues to work in his office. His most recent project, Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Curitaba, Brazil, opened to the public in late 2002.


Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most significant composers of our time, was born in Debica, Poland, near Krakow in 1933. He was brought up during the Nazi occupation and strove to develop a musical vocabulary that would adequately communicate his sense of postwar alienation, horror at the crimes of the Holocaust and the cold war and, paradoxically, his hope for the future.
The most striking characteristic of Penderecki's music, apart from its expressive power, is its sheer magnitude. Dominating his output is a gigantic "St. Luke’s Passion" sequence in the mold of Bach's masterworks--a dozen large works composed over a period of twenty years that deal with the problems of violence, suffering, and death. A tribute to the effectiveness of his work is that despite their physical, logistical, and economic difficulties, they are performed so often.


Abbas Kiarostami, born in Tehran in 1940, is a pioneer of Iranian cinema and is considered to be one of today’s most controversial and influential filmmakers. In 1997 he became the first Iranian director ever to win the Palme d’Or of the Cannes Film Festival. Kiarostami has a sparse, down to earth but eloquent style. While being firmly grounded in the physical reality and dreams of the people of Iran, and in Persian philosophy, his films are universally understood. The poetic lyricism and presentation of his films have brought comparisons with the films of Satyajit Ray, Vittorio de Sica, Eric Rohmer, and Jacques Tati. A recent film, "Five"(2003) is subtitled "Dedicated to Ozu."
Kiarostami is also a noted photographer and poet. A bilingual collection of more than 200 of his poems "Walking with the Wind" was recently published by Harvard University Press.

For information, please refer to the website: http//www.praemiumimperiale.org
or contact:
The Japan Art Association Tokyo
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Claudine Colin Paris
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Sandie Barker London
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Heesch+Hogerzeil PR, Berlin
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Francesca Martinotti Rome
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Lloyd Kaplan NY
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