Fabian Reimann and Niko Wolf
Winners of the Daniel Frese Prize for Contemporary Art 2012

The prize winners Fabian Reimann (l.) and Niko Wolf (r.) with certificates next to (f.l.t.r.) Bettina von Dziembowski, Ulf Wuggenig, Heike Munder, who held the honouring speech, mayor Ulrich Maedge, Christoph Behnke and Valérie Knoll
Picture: Fred Dott

The winners of the Daniel Frese Prize for Contemporary Art 2012 are Fabian Reimann and Niko Wolf,
who received the prize in the equally ranked section for young emerging artists.

Fabian Reimann and Niko Wolf were honoured with the Daniel Frese Prize 2012 on 11 July in the historical Fuerstensaal in the City Hall of the Hanseatic City of Lüneburg. Here, works of the late-Renaissance painter (1540-1611) are displayed, to whom the prize, which was newly established last year, is dedicated. 48 contemporary artists from the region had submitted their drafts on the theme of »art and sustainability«.

With Heike Munder, director of the Migros Museum fuer Gegenwartskunst Zurich and member of the jury of Tate Gallery's Turner Prize 2012, the honouring speech was again held by a renowned personality from the art field with ties to the region. Heike Munder studied culture studies in Lüneburg, founded the Halle fuer Kunst Lüneburg together with Bernd Milla and worked for several years as a curator in the region, before changing to Zurich to one of the leading European institutions for contemporary art.

This year, the jury granting the Daniel Frese Prize 2012 again consisted of notable representatives of the art world. The jury was chaired by Marius Babias, director of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Members of the jury were Tue Greenfort, an artist known for his ecological concepts whose work is currently on view at documenta(13) as well as Bettina von Dziembowski, director of Kunstverein Springhornhof, which co-founded the landscape art and this year will make its spaces and resources available for the exhibition of the prize-winners. Further jury members were Karin Guenther, who operates the gallery of the same name in Hamburg and regularly participates in Art Basel, the world's most important art fair, and, from the local context, Christoph Behnke, director of KIM, as well as curator Valérie Knoll.

The two prize-winners are given the opportunity to present their artistic approaches in the group show »The Simple Life« at Kunstverein Springhornhof in Neuenkirchen near Soltau, as Bettina von Dziembowski, host of the exhibition, explained. The show will open on 27 October, 2012, and is dedicated - like the prize - to issues of »art and sustainability«. The prize money of 3,000 euros each is meant for the production of the artistic work based on the prize-winning draft. It will then be displayed in the group show. At Springhornhof, the works of the prize-winners will be shown together with important artistic positions from a national and international context.

Project head Christoph Behnke was highly pleased that 48 artists from the entire project region had submitted drafts for the Daniel Frese Prize 2012. In his speech, he expressly thanked all applicants for their proposed drafts which were often highly interesting.

Fabian Reimann

Fabian Reimann submitted a draft for a work to be realised on the theme of sustainability titles »Das Gedaechtnis der Sterne« (Memory of the Stars). For the show at Springhornhof, the artist plans an installation employing various media, based on which questions of sustainable knowledge are raised. In the age of the internet and the attendant debates on open source projects countering tendencies to monopolise information, they are of great economic, political and social relevance. Using factual and fictive elements, viewers are told about the promises and potentials of different technological innovations that simultaneously function as reservoirs of knowledge and are today, more than ever, subject to rapid change. These kinds of storage media are accompanied by the issue of technologically motivated and always also speculative future utopias. From the jury decision: »The artist Fabian Reimann deals with the theme of sustainable knowledge organisation in an impressive way. Reimann presents especially outstanding approaches in dealing with knowledge by examining the tensional relation between the order of knowledge and the voids and formation of myths emerging in the process.«

Fabian Reimann, born in 1975, studied Textual Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna under Heimo Zobernig and Fine Art at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig in the class of Astrid Klein. The artist also studied Book Design and Graphic Design in Leipzig.

Niko Wolf

Niko Wolf submitted a draft on the theme of sustainability for a work to be realised titled »Erdhuegelmuseum oder: die Oekonomie des Vergessens« (Molehill Museum, or: the Economy of Forgetting). The project of the artist is based on the precise cataloguing of molehills on the 3-hectar field of the architecturally impressive Kunststaette Bossard in Jesteburg. For the show at Springhornhof, he uses the resulting documentary material for a presentation with the molehills, which are usually deemed aesthetically disturbing. The work not only focuses on questions of what in the future will be sustainably valued as an artwork, but also on questions related to the relevance of museum collections and their mission of conserving art in a sustainable way. The jury gave the following reasons for its decision: »The artist presents an innovative approach to cataloguing in the tradition of Conceptual Art, taking institutional questions into consideration. In this work, Wolf combines various disciplinary approaches from architecture, economy, biology, and art.«

Niko Wolf, born in 1982, studied Fine Art and Art Mediation at the art school of Ottersberg, Lower Saxony, in the sculpture class of Prof. Elke Wolf and graduated with a diploma in 2008.

— Cornelia Kastelan, Valérie Knoll

KIM has granted the Daniel Frese Prize for Contemporary Art to fine or visual artists in the region of Lueneburg, Germany, since 2011. The prize is awarded for outstanding drafts for new works of art. The annual awarding of two artists with place of residence in one of the 11 administrative districts of the region comprises various forms of recognition and offers the prize-winners new networking opportunities. The prize first includes a public honouring and prize money for the submitted draft. The award-winners are additionally given the opportunity to present their artistic approaches in a group exhibition [LINK EN EXHIBITION 2012] with renowned artists. The prize money is intended for the development and realisation of the artwork based on the submitted draft, which will then be on view in the exhibition. The prize is offered on annually changing themes that are simultaneously the motto of the respective exhibition. The awarded works are documented in publications and thus outlast the temporary exhibition presentation. Heike Munder, Director of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zurich and member of the jury of the Turner Prize 2012 of Tate Gallery London, could be won for the award presentation to give a speech in honour of the prize winners.


The prize is dedicated to the memory of the Lueneburg painter and cartographer Daniel Frese (1540-1611). He is remembered for his allegorical paintings for the City Hall of Lueneburg in which he created a new visual language. Furthermore, he produced drafts for »Civitates Orbis Terrarum,« the world's first city atlas. During the early phase of the autonomization of the artistic field from the church, feudal principals, and the state, Frese emerged as a versatile artist.

Thematic focus 2012: »Sustainability«

The dialogue between fine or visual arts and theories of sustainability is based on developments that began with Conceptual art of the 1960s, Arte Povera and social sculpture. It is accompanied by attempts to connect art to social matters in a stronger way. Without expressly referencing the discursive field at all times, lively debates on this complex theme are currently taking place. Questions pertaining to the relationship to nature, culture und technology, to climate change caused by humans, to social participation, intergenerational equity, as well as deceleration and sustainable development are also raised in art. It is no longer just the environmental crisis that is being debated; ecology, economy, the social and the cultural-aesthetical can be understood as sub-areas in the discourse on sustainability that stand in mutual exchange. The granting of the Daniel Frese Prize 2012 has this thematic focus to incite artistic delving into the variegated aspects of »sustainability« or »un-sustainability«.

Exhibition 2012

The Kunstverein Springhornhof in Neuenkirchen near Soltau will offer its spaces, reputation and resources for the 2012 exhibition dedicated to issues of »sustainability« and »un-sustainability«. The realised artworks of the award-winners will result in this show that brings them together with important artistic positions from the national and international context. The show opens on 27 October, 2012.

In 2011, the Kunstraum of the Leuphana University of Lueneburg was the host. The show »Demanding Supplies – Nachfragende Angebote« negotiating the topic of »art market« presented installations and practices of the award-winners of the first Daniel Frese Prize, Diego Castro (Stade) and Katja Staats (Harburg), along with works by Daniel Buren (Paris) and Maria Eichhorn (Berlin).

Jury and speaker

In 2012, an expert jury of renowned representatives of the art world, distinguished by their different fields of specialisation, will again assess the drafts and name the prize-winners. The awarding of the Daniel Frese Prize 2012 will take place on 11 July in the Fürstensaal of the City Hall of the Hanse City of Lueneburg. This building has been distinctively shaped by Daniel Frese in the late renaissance period. With Heike Munder, Director of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zurich, the speech in honour of the prize-winners will again be held by a renowned personality from the art field who has close ties to the region.

The jury for the 2011 Daniel Frese Prize was chaired by Beatrice von Bismarck (at that time Rector of the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig). Members of the jury were Thomas Locher (artist, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen), Bernd Milla (executive director, Art Foundation Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart), Nikolaus Oberhuber (gallery KOW, Berlin), Julia Moritz (curator KIM 2010/11, now head of the of documenta 13 education program, Kassel), and Christoph Behnke (director KIM). Robert Fleck, Director of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany Bonn, gave the speech honouring the award-winners of the first Daniel Frese Prize.


Invited to the competition are fine or visual artists who have their place of residence in one of the 11 administrative districts of the former administrative region Lueneburg. The administrative districts are Celle, Cuxhaven, Harburg, Heidekreis, Lüchow-Dannenberg, Lüneburg, Osterholz, Rotenburg (Wümme), Stade, Verden, and Uelzen; a corresponding proof of residency is to be enclosed.

The main part of the written application is a fully formulated proposal for the content-related, formal and practical realisation of an artwork dealing with the theme of 2012, »sustainability«. This theme also allows the critical examination of discourses on sustainability and references to »un-sustainability«.

The application documents must be submitted by 31 May, 2012. Addressee is the director of the KIM project office, Anja Stegert (address see contacts). The application can also be sent in digital form. In this case, we ask you to send the draft, the certificate of residency, CV and list of exhibitions, signed and scanned as PDF to anja.stegert[at]inkubator.leuphana.de.

Two artists are awarded each year, one in the field of new artistic talents (up to 40 years of age). The prize money is 3,000 euros each.

The awarding ceremony will be held on 11 July, 2012 in the Fürstensaal of the City Hall of the Hanse City of Lueneburg and requires the presence of the award-winners.

The prize is meant for the production of a new work based on the draft that will be shown for the first time at this year’s exhibition on the theme of »sustainability« at the Kunstverein Springhornhof in Neuenkirchen. The exhibition opens on 27 October, 2012.

With their applications, the participants acknowledge the procedure as it is stipulated in detail in the German section »Daniel Frese Preis für zeitgenössische Kunst 2012«. Any recourse to courts of law is excluded.

— Cornelia Kastelan, Valérie Knoll

Studio visit with the winner of the Daniel Frese Prize for Contemporary Art 2012, Niko Wolf

Sat 17/11/2012, 3 – 5 pm

Please register until Thurs 15/11/2012: info(at)kim-art.net.

For the exhibition »The Simple Life« at Kunstverein Springhornhof, Niko Wolf – the winner of the Daniel Frese Prize 2012 in the category of »Young Emerging Art« – realized his draft »Museum of Mounds or:
The Economy of Oblivion« (2012), which was elected by the jury. KIM now invites to visit Niko Wolf in his studio together with project head Christoph Behnke as well as the curators Valérie Knoll and Cornelia Kastelan. In exchange with the artist, visitors will obtain insights into his works, interests and approaches. After the studio visit, there is the option to go together to Kunststätte Bossard, which is also located in Jesteburg.

Meeting point is the studio of Niko Wolf in Jesteburg; the address will be announced after registration.
As the trip has to be organized privately, we ask those who do not want to travel by train and bus to indicate if they can offer or are looking for a ride.

The Innovation Incubator Lüneburg is an EU major project, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-funded by the federal state of Lower Saxony.