The Nightingale was for the first time awarded in 2013 to the renowned Chinese artist Yue Minjun
The Nightingale was for the first time awarded in 2013 to the renowned Chinese artist Yue Minjun. He has, among other things created the sculpture that is included in the H.C. Andersen Festivals 'logo. Yue Minjun received the award of 400,000 kr. along with a bronze statuette of the sculpture that is part of the festival's logo.
Yue Minjun was awarded the prize on the grounds that he with his humorous, sympathetic and very ambiguous painting focuses on themes that have a direct reference to not only a politically controlled and extremely bureaucratic society, but also to the follies and weaknesses that can be part of the human character. In that way there is threads to the universe that H.C. Andersen unfolded in his life's work. H.C. Andersen broke new patterns both artistically and socially in a society marked by hierarchy and rigid standards.
Yue Minjun lives in Beijing, where he made his debut in 1992, and since then he has been among the leading representatives of the cynical realism, which was reflected in the Chinese painting in the 1990s. On the international art scene, Yue Minjue got his breakthrough at the Venice Biennale in 1999, and his works have among other things been shown with great success in Paris at the Fondation Cartier. On his very subjective way, Yue Minjun puts questions with his mask-like, big grinning men about the mechanisms in today’s China and the brainwashing that has taken place not only since Mao's Cultural Revolution, but also since the uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The disturbing expression by many of Yue Minjun’s robotic men gives just as much an impression of a facade that conceals a disillusioned inner rather than the outer life full of openness and vitality. With its many contradictory themes told in an accessible, almost childishly direct imagery, Yue Minjun creates expressions that in many ways are parallel to the expressions, which H.C. Andersen created through humor, irony and breaches in patterns of life in his art. Yue Minjun points with his art on the contradiction between staging and authenticity, between the authentic and the inauthentic, between the natural and the artificial, just as H.C. Andersen makes it in many places in his writings and especially his great adventure "The Nightingale". Yue Minjun have earned the right and has deserved to be the first recipient of the award, which is named after H.C. Andersen's fairy tale "The Nightingale".
Jury in 2013: art historian Bente Scavenius, prof. Johs. Nørregaard Frandsen, H.C. Andersen Center, University of Southern Denmark and director of KVINFO Elisabeth Møller Jensen.