Kahlil Joseph winner of the Eye Art & Film Prize 2020

Kahlil Joseph

Kahlil Joseph (Photo: Nathan Bajar, 2017)

20 March 2020

Kahlil Joseph has been named the winner of the Eye Art & Film Prize 2020. His work is at the interface between cinema, visual arts and music. With the Eye Art & Film Prize of £25,000, Joseph can create new work.

Jury chair Sandra den Hamer, director of Eye Filmmuseum: “Artist Kahlil Joseph makes overwhelming work that blurs the boundaries between cinema, visual arts and music. His work focuses on the experience of African Americans in the United States. He presents his political commentary in an elegant, almost alluring way, in beautiful, carefully arranged installations with a unique visual style.”

Den Hamer was on the jury with filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, artist Aernout Mik, curators Andrea Lissoni (Tate Modern), Olivia Stewart (PJLF Arts Fund) and Solange Farkas (Associação Cultural Videobrasil).

The Eye Prize, an initiative of Eye Filmmuseum and the Paddy & Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund, aims to support an artist or filmmaker whose work has contributed in an extraordinary way to new developments at the interface between visual art and film.

Kahlil Joseph

Winner of the 2020 EYE Prize, Kahlil Joseph (1981, Seattle) is an American artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, who is best known for his groundbreaking video clips for musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, FKA twigs and Beyoncé. Since 2015, he is also known for his large-scale video installations on the interface between cinema, visual arts, fashion and music.

Kahlil Joseph:

I am immensely grateful and humbled by the distinction of this award. My deepest thanks to Sandra den Hamer, Director of the Eye Filmmuseum, and the jury for considering my work and bestowing me with such an honor, especially Olivia Stewart, Jury member and trustee of the Paddy & Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund, and Jaap Guldemond, head of the Advisory Board and Director of Exhibitions.

I hold a special gratitude for two individuals from the jury; Andrea Lissoni from Haus der Kunst in Munich, who has supported my practice over the years with numerous exhibition opportunities, and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose work has been deeply impactful in crafting my own approach to film.

The 2020 Eye Art & Film Prize gives me the opportunity to further expand and support my ongoing project BLKNWS® in a time of global uncertainty, when we must turn to art and film for answers not found in everyday life. Receiving this award on the eve of Chantal Akerman's exhibition is profoundly humbling, as her life and work are fundamental to modern cinematic practice."

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Short film for Flying Lotus' Until the Quiet Comes

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Videoclip for FKA twigs' Videogirl 

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Short film for Sampha's Process

In 2015, Joseph had his first museum presentation at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles. A year later, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles dedicated a small solo exhibition to his work, followed by a presentation at the New Museum in New York in 2017. In the same year, the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht dedicated a large solo exhibition to his work.

Joseph is currently the Artistic Director of The Underground Museum, a groundbreaking independent art museum, exhibition space, and community hub in Los Angeles founded by his deceased brother, visionary artist and curator, Noah Davis.

Jury Report

The work of LA-based artist Kahlil Joseph centres on the experience of Africa-Americans in the United States. His political comments are addressed elegantly - almost seductively - in beautiful, precise installations that show a unique visual approach.

The jury is very impressed by Joseph’s hybrid practice that crosses cinema, visual art and music. He disturbs the boundaries between art forms by using a sophisticated visual style through which he explores and shows black culture in the United States. A vibrant mixture of fiction and reality, sound and image in an ongoing transformation. For example, in his recent work BLKNWS shown at this year's Venice Biennale; a fierce, original newscast in the form of a two-channel video montage that uses media clips, music videos, archival material and newly shot images. It is an ongoing work that mixes current and historical news about black culture with juxtaposing images, hung side by side. Here the artist explores the way black lives are perceived in an installation that blurs the lines between art, journalism and cultural critique.

Eye Art & Film Prize

The Eye Art & Film Prize was established in 2015 to support and promote an artist or filmmaker who brings art and film together and whose work distinguishes itself in conceptual ability, imagination and artistic quality. The Prize is for new work to be realised with the annual award of £25,000. The previous winners were Hito Steyerl (2015), Ben Rivers (2016), Wang Bing (2017), Francis Alÿs (2018) and Meriem Bennani (2019).