Melik Ohanian (born in 1969, in Lyon), a French artist of Armenian heritage, was award the 15th annual Marcel Duchamp Prize this weekend during the Fiac art fair, The Art Newspaper reports.
While many expected the winner to be the emerging artist Neïl Beloufa, who has received a lot of international attention in recent years, the jury asserted its independence. “We wished to celebrate the coherence of the aim of the artist who, for 20 years, has developed a personal oeuvre based on a particular attention to the relationships between science, astrophysics and visual arts,” said Bernard Blistène, the director of the Centre Pompidou who led the jury.
Ohanian’s body of work does not hesitate to capture the great evils of the world. His film DAYS, I See what I Saw and what I will See, which is about immigrant workers in the United Arab Emirates, was originally commissioned for—but withdrawn from—the 2011 Sharjah Biennial. His work is also included in the group show on the Armenian Genocide for that country’s pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale.
At Fiac, where he was represented by Paris’s Galerie Chantal Crousel, Ohanian presented a series of seven photographs animated and mounted in light boxes, which show the one-second change in state from solid to liquid of the element Cesium 133, stretched over one minute.