Der Gewinner des Hector Preises 2019, Hiwa K, Foto: Sarhang Hars; Courtesy of KOW, Berlin
The awarding of the Hector Art Prize by the Kunsthalle Mannheim and the Hector Foundation: The jury selected Hiwa K as the winner on January 22, 2019

Hiwa K has been named the Hector Art Prize winner for 2019. The jury’s choice, made on Tuesday January 22, 2019, was a unanimous decision, coming after a three-stage selection process in which the judges narrowed down their favorite of the 14 nominated individual artists and artist collectives. Born in 1975 and originating from Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdish region of Iraq, the artist has lived in Germany for more than 20 years and, with his vast collection of works, has significantly contributed to the creation of a cross-cultural dialogue between Arab, Kurdish, and European culture.

Hiwa K’s work – ranging in form from sculptures to multimedia works, often making use of video installations – captivates the viewer through its formal, narrative, and anthropological qualities. His multifaceted, emotionally loaded, and politically charged works (such as those on display at documenta 14 in Kassel) draw on his own existential experiences, touching on both humans and objects from the artist’s life. The wide variety of artistic themes he confronts range from the current day military conflict over his Kurdish homeland and the intertwining of art and politics in Italy in the modern era to the postcolonial aspects of Europe’s relationship with Latin America. For example, at the Venice Biennale in 2015 the installation artist presented a bell forged out of military waste from the 1980–88 war between Iran and Iraq and the two Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003.

“Hiwa K, who, as a Kurd, was forced to flee Iraq, uses his work to engage with the great challenges of our age: migration, the issue of belonging, and the theme of nationalism. Beginning from his own personal history, he has clearly succeeded in his attempts to grapple with these complex questions, both on a conceptual and a formal level, and to create works which deeply touch on our humanity,” the jury explained in their verdict. “Moreover, Hiwa K’s artistic methods are captivating in their precise analysis of social conditions across the world and their profound significance: his work highlighting individual experiences and also makes universal statements about power and its effects.”

The director of the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Dr. Ulrike Lorenz, is pleased with the jury’s unanimous decision: “The work of Hiwa K is a perfect addition to Kunsthalle Mannheim’s collection, a collection which century has consistently engaged with life’s existential questions since the beginning of the twentieth. Moreover, Hiwa K’s art is not afraid to take a stance on contemporary social questions – such as war, isolation, power, forced migration, identity, and heritage. This controversial, discussion-provoking art is exactly what we’re looking for at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, where we are not afraid to confront these social issues.”

Beginning in 1997, the Kunsthalle Mannheim, in association with the H.W. & J. Hector Foundation, have awarded the Hector Prize for contemporary art in Germany every three years. The award seeks to promote artists between the ages of 35 and 50 currently living in Germany and working in the three-dimensional disciplines of sculpture, readymades, and immersive multimedia installations. In this way, the Hector Art Prize highlights the Mannheim collection’s focus on sculpture. The winner receives a cash prize of 20,000 euros, an exhibition at the Kunsthalle, and an exhibition catalog. Previous winners include Alicja Kwade, Nairy Baghramian, Tobias Rehberger, Florian Slotawa and Gunda Förster.

The 2019 jury comprised:

  • Antonia Alampi, artistic co-director, SAVVY Contemporary – The Laboratory of Form-Ideas, Berlin
  • Dr. Sebastian Baden, contemporary art curator, Kunsthalle Mannheim
  • Dr. Andreas Beitin, director, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen
  • John Feldmann, member of the board of trustees for the H.W. & J. Hector Stiftung II
  • Krist Gruijthuijsen, director, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
  • Dr. Thomas Köllhofer, curator of the graphic collection, Kunsthalle Mannheim
  • Mirjam Varadinis, curator, Kunsthaus Zürich.


Nominees for the 2019 Hector Art Prize alongside Hiwa K:

  • Julius von Bismarck, German, born 1983, Berlin
  • Simon Denny, New Zealander, born 1982, Berlin
  • Jason Dodge, American, born 1969, Berlin
  • FORT (Alberta Niemann, German, born 1982, & Jenny Kropp, German, born 1978), Berlin
  • Simon Fujiwara, British, born 1982, Berlin
  • Judith Hopf, German, born 1969, Berlin
  • Sofia Hultén, Swedish, born 1972, Berlin
  • Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Korean, born 1978, Berlin
  • Veit Laurent Kurz, German, born 1985, Berlin/ Frankfurt
  • Michaela Meise, German, born 1976, Berlin
  • Peles Empire (Katharina Stöver, German, born 1982, & Barbara Wolff, Romanian, born 1980), Berlin
  • Yorgos Sapountzis, Greek, born 1976, Berlin
  • Viron Erol Vert, German, born 1975, Berlin and Istanbul



Hiwa K’s works will be shown at the Kunsthalle Mannheim in an exhibition curated by Dr. Sebastian Baden between July 5 and September 1, 2019 as part of the Hector Art Prize for 2019.


Promoted by the H.W. & J. Hector Foundation.


On September 27, 2019, the exhibition “Inspiration Matisse” opens at Kunsthalle Mannheim

Color, form, surface, figure and space – Henri Matisse, the master of painterly innovation, combined these elements in an entirely new way around 1905. His figurative and symbolic reductions bordered on abstraction. The French painter, printmaker and sculptor Matisse (1869–1954) had a lasting influence on twentieth-century art. Hardly any young artist looking to build on impressionism’s foundations could fail to engage with his oeuvre. In developing and intensifying his means of artistic expression, Matisse continued to work within the European tradition while simultaneously opening himself up to the possibilities offered by oriental and far Eastern art.

With an exhibition of around 100 selected paintings, sculptures and graphic works, the Kunsthalle Mannheim presents Matisse as a pioneer of modernity and an example to his circle of younger contemporaries, whether the French fauvists, the German expressionists or students of the Académie Matisse—a true artist’s artist. In addition to landscape paintings, among which number famous Mediterranean scenes, the exhibition includes still lifes, studio pictures, and portraits, as well as a series of figures in space and backs. The pinnacle and finale of the exhibition are Matisse’s four famed life-sized “Backs”, which were created between 1909 and 1930 in a continual reduction of the artist’s sculptural expression.

In addition to Matisse, André Derain, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Henri Manguin and Albert Marquet are also represented in the exhibition, as well as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alexej von Jawlensky, August Macke, Gabriele Münter and Max Pechstein. Works by the German pupils of Matisse Rudolf Levy, Oskar and Margarete Moll, Hans Purrmann and Mathilde Vollmoeller are also included. The works by these different artists combine to create an exciting dialogue and reveal new perspectives. It becomes evident that Matisse led the way to new form and content, simultaneously acting as a catalyst for individual artistic liberation.

The exhibition includes works on loan from museums and private collections in Belgium, Denmark, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the US.

Sponsored by the Kunsthalle Mannheim Foundation and the H.W & J. Hector Foundation.

Inspiration Matisse

September 27, 2019 to January 19, 2020

Opening: September 26, 2019, 7 p.m.

Curators: Dr. Peter Kropmanns (Paris), Dr. Ulrike Lorenz

Henri Matisse, Offenes Fenster, Collioure, 1905, Öl auf Leinwand, 55,3 x 46 cm, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney National, Gallery of Art, Washington 1998.74.7, © Succession H. Matisse/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018
On February 28, 2019, the exhibition “Henri Laurens – Daughters of the Waves” opens at Kunsthalle Mannheim

The spring exhibition presents the work of Henri Laurens (1885–1954), one of the major sculptors of the 20th century. He belonged to the group of Cubists around Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Later, Laurens moved away from Cubist constructive forms and ended up working with ample volumes that swelled into space. After 1932 several “daughters of the waves” crop up in his œuvre, paving the way for a series of sea creatures which clearly reveal the artist´s perfect understanding of how to combine volume, material and motion in a sculptural expression.

“Henri Laurens – Daughters of the Waves” (March, 1, to June, 16, 2019) at the Kunsthalle Mannheim places the accent on Laurens’s late works, alongside which it shows complementary graphic works and book illustrations. The exhibition at Mannheim is generously supported by the H.W. & J. Hector Stiftung.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalog, published by the Wienand Verlag in December – with contributions by Arie Hartog, Elisabeth Lebon, Christa Lichtenstern, Anne-Sophie Pieper and Veronika Wiegartz (146 pages, 130 colored illustrations, hardcover, German / English, price: 29.80 € , ISBN 978-3-86832-483-9).

Henri Laurens – Daughters of the Waves
March, 1, to June, 16, 2019
Opening: Februar, 28, 2019, 7 p.m.
In cooperation with the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus, Bremen.

Henri Laurens: La Sirène (Siren), 1945, bronze © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, photo: Kunsthalle Mannheim
© James Turrell, Sammlung Kunsthalle Mannheim, photo: Kunsthalle Mannheim/Florian Holzherr
Kunsthalle Mannheim completes its new building with James Turrell’s light corridor Split Decision

American artist and pioneer of light art James Turrell’s latest work in the former Athene passageway spans 200 square meters and 12 meters in height. Moving through it from Kunsthalle Mannheim’s art nouveau building to the new building is an unforgettable experience of perception. After four years of development and preparation, the Mannheim art museum completes its new building with the site-specific permanent light installation Split Decision, thus adding a major work of modern art to its significant contemporary art collection. The Hector Stiftung II Kunst gGmbH initiated the project and provided the funding.

“My works aren’t about light – they are light,” says Turrell (b. 1943). Split Decision, an art work in light, is situated at the heart of Kunsthalle Mannheim. It transforms the two-story passageway into a unique light corridor. The space connects the new building designed by the architectural firm gmp – Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner with Hermann Billing’s art nouveau structure. The new installation therefore both bridges the gap between the museum’s various programmatic types of architecture and transports its visitors from the early 21st century to the early 20th century via a kind of meditative time travel. Museum director Dr. Ulrike Lorenz is confident that it is “a real stroke of luck for Kunsthalle Mannheim’s collection as well as its architecture. Turrell manages to transform time and space in his art, as well as affecting the individual visitor perceiving his work. His light pieces transform and bewitch, leading us beyond the boundaries of our senses.”

Split Decision occupies a central place in the museum: the passageway between the new building and the art nouveau building. Two sources of light taking up the entire walls illuminate the atmospherically charged space with changing color spectra, similarly to Turrell’s Tall Glass series. The light sources consist of 80 colored images that complement each other in fixed combinations and slowly merge into sequences. After 154 minutes, the meditative cycle of colorful and complementary light play begins anew.

At Mannheim, the whole of the surrounding room is part of the installation, even more so than with the Tall Glass works. Turrell’s piece can be accessed from the first floor and also from Level 1 via bridge. The passage offers a view on Constantin Brancusi’s reflective Fish on the ground floor of the older building and Olafur Eliasson’s self-illuminating Starbrick under the cupola. In the opposite direction, the Athene passageway opens up via a tunnel into the light-flooded atrium of the Kunsthalle’s new building.

By tackling light, color and space in his own artistic fashion, Turrell carves out a prominent place for himself in the realm of modern art. The light artist, who comes from a family of Quakers, builds on the conceptual art of the 1960s and on abstract painting in his works, but gives greatest priority to what the given location has to offer him. He uses light to create immersive spaces with elaborate architectural and technical installations. His works physically immerse the viewer, allowing them to plunge into a seemingly endless space formed of light.

Turrell himself places his work within the category of perceptual art. “Light has an enormous power, and we are connected to it in an almost primordial way,” Turrell says. “I sculpt it as a material as far as possible. I want to make people be able to feel it, really experience the presence of light and the way that it fills up a room.”

From now on at Kunsthalle Mannheim, visitors can see for themselves how light manifests itself in the installation Split Decision.

Made possible by

Hector Stiftung II Kunst gGmbH