With the award of its own art prize (1994 to 2010), the Adolf Luther Foundation has taken up the founder’s wish to “promote young artists working in the fields of concrete, non-representational art”.
To Adolf Luther’s mind, it is reality itself that is concrete, as for instance the phenomena of nature, light and movement, but also the phenomena of everyday life such as simple commodities, objects and materials in daily use.
As Luther comprehended it, the concept Concrete Art refers not simply to an autonomous form of painting or sculpture, as Theo van Doesburg defined it, but to an art which is concerned with the reality of our lives in the broadest sense and which it fashions aesthetically.
With this Luther broke with the canon of Concrete Art in a highly unorthodox manner. The Foundation has followed him in this in its choice of artists for the art prize.
Prize Winner of the Year 1994
This object made in 1994 consists of a tandem with, hanging on all sides, provisionally made packages and plastic bags. The tandem looks as though the artist had taken it from a tramp on the street. In point of fact it is a precisely made copy. The tandem was bought used, the plastic bags, which are filled with articles of clothing and various utility items, appear worn out, as if they had been repeatedly used.
Prize Winner of the Year 1996
Michel Verjux’s theme is light. His medium for this artistic work is the spotlight. Ever since 1987 he has worked with high power indoor spotlights, which outshine the daylight and light up a stretch of wall, ceiling or floor in a room with the elementary shape of a circle or rectangle. Here we have the pure presence of light itself, without any content, without any objects: light as an aesthetic form in itself.
Prize Winner of the Year 2002
In 2002 the Adolf Luther Foundation awarded its prize to an artist who had enquired into questions of architecture. Architecture is about designing space, it creates a spatial delimitation, a space for people and their lives.
As a spatial art it is bound like no other to reality.
Prize Winner of the Year 2004
Martin Boyce, graduate from the Glasgow School of Art and the California Institute of Arts, examines in his objects and spatially-oriented installations architects and designers from US American and European Modernism, as for instance Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Jean Prouvé, and Arne Jacobsen.
Like an archaeologist or anthropologist, he turns a critical eye on the underlying utopias and the beliefs in the social relevance of design. Martin Boyce robs yesteryear’s designs of their function and aesthetics, and transforms them into disturbing and unsettling objects and installations. “Dark Reflections” was the title he chose for the exhibition he mounted at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum on the occasion of the award of the art prize. It was conceived of as an overview of his creative output from the last few years.
Prize Winner of the Year 2006
Katja Strunz has engaged herself since the mid-1990s intensively with the subject of space. In connection with this, she is above all interested in the concepts of Land and Minimal Art in the USA.
Prize Winner of the Year 2010
The changes in society, culture and human behaviour that have been engendered by the new information technologies is a central topic in the work of Julius Popp. His large, room-filling installations employing natural elements such as water, light and movement, reveal facets of the way information and news are handled and the structures that underlie them. In Popp’s work, experimental artistic thought and action, together with a critical inquiry into our present digital culture, are combined in a convincingly sensual manner with the aesthetic model of art.