The year 2002 marks the third time Daimler has rewarded outstanding artistic achievement in South Africa by conferring special honors on talented individuals. This year’s prize is for sculpture, and it follows two previous awards—for contemporary art and South African jazz.
Jane Alexander (*1959) convinced an international jury that the powerful, evocative messages of her work, communicated with a combination of force and subtlety, deserve to be recognized by the Mercedes-Benz 2002 Award for South African Sculpture. The renowned members of the jury awarded the prize to the sculptor because her figures expressed “the fragility of a multicultural society” in the post-apartheid era.
From July 26 to September 15, 2002, important works by the artist will be on display at the Mercedes-Benz Contemporary. The exhibition realized in the context of the Mercedes-Benz Award offers an overview of the artist’s complete oeuvre and is her first individual exhibition outside South Africa.
The exhibition focuses on the installation African Adventure. This extensive group of sculptures, which was created over the past three years, consists of a rectangular sand-filled pit in which a total of 14 figures and numerous objects have been placed. The sculptural ensemble is augmented by monitors showing video presentations and by 10 large-format and 15 small-format photomontages. They are complemented by four more installations that have been created since the early 1980s.
Jane Alexander was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1959. She studied art at the University of Witwatersrand. She currently lives in Cape Town and works as a free-lance artist and teacher at the famous Michaelis School of Fine Arts. Her sculptures and installations attracted attention at many international group exhibitions and biennials, e.g. in Berlin, Havana, Lyon, Venice, Fellbach, Dakar, Chicago and New York.
On May 16, Alexander had been presented with the Mercedes-Benz Award for South African Sculpture 2002. At a reception on the occasion of the South African National Day, “Freedom Day“, the CEO of Daimler AG and Honorary Consul General for the Republic of South Africa, Jürgen E. Schrempp, presented the award. According to Schrempp, “With it we want to pay tribute to the high standards on the art and culture scene in South Africa. This year’s award goes to Jane Alexander for her marvelous achievements in the field of ‘sculpture’. With her unusual, vivid figures she has created a remarkable work of art.”
The award was created in 1999 in order to promote exceptional artistic achievements. In 2000 the prize was awarded for the first time. The first winner of the award was Kay Hassan, who received the Mercedes-Benz Award for South African Contemporary Art 2000. In 2001, the Mercedes-Benz Award for South African Jazz went to jazz musician and composer Themba Mhkize.
Further information on the Mercedes-Benz Award for South African Art and Culture.