Noemi Smolik received the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize for Art Criticism 2020
Award for the life's work of a border crosser and independent critic
The critic Noemi Smolik, who lives in Bonn and Prague, was awarded the Prize for Art Criticism 2020. The prize, worth 3,000 euros, was awarded by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV) in cooperation with ART COLOGNE and is aimed at freelance journalists.
Noemi Smolik has been working on the reappraisal of Eastern European and Russian art history for very many years. She neither shies away from the confrontation with academic circles nor from addressing a broad audience, so that she perfectly masters and is able to serve an impressive range of art criticism formats - the entertaining feuilleton, the essai as a long read or the lecture. Time and again she succeeds in breaking through and rewriting traditional narratives.
What also distinguishes her in particular, however, is that she repeatedly and with great attention and precision brings out buried findings from the history of non-state and dissident art in socialist societies and resists the smoothing and levelling of historical conflicts. It was only in 2019 (and in the midst of the summery, euphoric peak of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus) that Noemi Smolik enlightened the readership of a national daily newspaper, for example, about the fact that Kasimir Malevich had been censored not only in Russia, but also by his supposed "comrades-in-arms" in Dessau. With forensic flair, stereotypical images of the Russian avant-garde are turned on their head and the Western perspective on the October Revolution is deconstructed.
With Noemi Smolik, the jury therefore honours a critic who understands how to pursue and assert content independently and unflinchingly beyond cultural-political trends. In times when national populism is gaining strength in many European countries, the jury would also like to honour the life's work of a border crosser who has worked tirelessly for cultural education.
The video is in German language, English subtitles are available.