Susan Hefuna, NYC, 2011. From a series of three drawings. Felt, gaze, pen, stiching; 56 x 60 x 4 cm (framed).
© André Morin. From the Florence and Daniel Guerlain Collection, Les Mesnuls.
Winner of the 2013 Drawing Prize
Daniel & Florence Guerlain
Fondation d’Art Contemporain
5, rue de la Vallée
78490 Les Mesnuls. France
The Contemporary Drawing Prize of the Daniel & Florence Guerlain Art Foundation was awarded on the 11th of April 2013 to Susan Hefuna, a German and Egyptian artist who was born in Cairo in 1962 and grew up in Germany. She studied painting at the Staatliche Akademie in Karlsruhe and at the New Media Institute in Frankfurt. She now divides her time between Düsseldorf, Cairo and New York. In 2012 she had a solo show, Vantages, at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and appeared in the group show Systems and Patterns at the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, at the Sydney Biennial, and in Drawings in the 21st Century, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2010. In 2013 works by Susan Hefuna will be shown at the Katara Arts Center, Doha; the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), Vancouver; and at the Drawing Center, New York. She is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Rose Issa Projects, London; Pi Artworks Gallery, Istanbul, and Townhouse Gallery, Cairo.
The international jury was composed of Manuela Alexejew (Germany), Paolo Barillari (Italy), Laurent Dassault (France), Didier Grumbach (France), Dominique Guyot (France), Susan Harris (USA), Brigitte Peers (Belgium), Daniel and Florence Guerlain.
The award ceremony took place in Paris at the Salon du Dessin at the Palais de la Bourse. A work by the winner is offered by the Foundation to the Graphic Arts collection of the French National Museum of Modern Art – Centre Pompidou.
Susan Hefuna, winner for 2013
Although she combines several distinct artistic practices, Susan Hefuna gives drawing a key position. “It is the most spontaneous medium, because it’s connected to our brain. When you take photographs or videos you can always hide things, but drawing is so direct that it lets you see the whole artist. You can’t lie with a drawing.” She made her first pictures at the age of five. Quite naturally and spontaneously, she was already representing sets of lines and dots. Later the works became more structured and responded to the influence of architecture, which Susan Hefuna likes to contemplate. A bi-national with German and Egyptian citizenship, she is a great traveller and has managed to cultivate a certain distance that enables her to synthesise the spaces she visits and make them abstract. Made with a light touch in watercolour or black ink, the drawings are sometimes shown in the form of two superposed pieces of paper. But whatever the form, they manifest two possibly contradictory qualities: great spontaneity, plus a keen will to structure the drawing. Susan Hefuna sums this up by evoking the state of intense concentration needed to conceive the works. “I often make my drawings in New York, a city where I feel my most anonymous. I do nothing but draw, except walking round the city, even if that is active time, like pre-work time. Next, nothing can be allowed to interfere with my ideas, for a I use a very small brush, a bit like a calligrapher.” The artist works intuitively, in a delicate equilibrium between what she wants to represent and the actual making of it, while allowing herself that necessary loss of control.
The Drawing Prize of the Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation receives the support of Neuflize OBC, The House of Guerlain, Axa Art, Artcurial, Loticis, Château Seguin and the Foundation’s Cercle des Amis.