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October 23, 2009updated Feb 07, 2013

Le Meurice Honors Up-And-Coming French Artist

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Following the brushstrokes of great artists like Salvador Dalí, Georges Braque and Kees Van Donegan, who have found inspiration at Le Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art 2009/2010. The €20,000 arts award, funded by the Dorchester Collection hotel and awarded by a jury of arts professionals, is a non-profit competition to encourage the careers of up-and-coming French artists on an increasingly competitive international stage. More than 30 presentations of project proposals were considered, including works of painting, sculpture, photography and video, and the prize will fund the creation of the winner’s vision.

The winning project is Black Out, which will be a photographic work inspired by the dual meaning of the title, representing both a city-wide power failure and a momentary loss of memory caused by a traumatic experience. The unilateral wielding of both power and viewpoint are recurrent themes in Auguste-Dormeuil’s work. This project will investigate the possibility of using darkness rather than light to create an image in an enclosed space which functions as a reverse camera obscura. Using a process similar to late nineteenth-century glass negatives, the final effect will portray the blacking out of the lights in two major capital cities, New York and Tokyo, seen from a panoramic viewpoint at night.

The debut of Auguste-Dormeuil’s artwork will be presented as a solo show at the Armory Show 2010 in New York, as a statement piece at Art Basel 2010 and displayed in Tokyo in 2010. The artist, who currently lives in Paris, shares the €20,000 prize with his representative gallery, Galerie In Situ of Paris.

The awarding of the 2nd Le Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art was overseen by a jury of arts professionals under direction of General Manager Franka Holtmann. Jurists included: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Ambassador for the award; Henri Loyrette, Chairman and Director of the Louvre; Marta Gili, Director of the Musée du Jeu de Paume; Jennifer Flay, Artistic Director of FIAC; Colette Barbier, Director of the Ricard Corporate Foundation; Marc-Olivier Wahler, Director of the Palais de Tokyo; Montse Aguer, Director of the Center for Dalinian Studies; and Philippe Dagen, writer and lecturer at Paris I University.

Last year’s Prix Meurice was awarded to Zoulikha Bouabdellah, represented by Galerie La B.A.N.K., for her monumental sculpture, Le Baiser (the kiss), in white and gold lacquered resin, with exhibitions at Art Dubai, Art Brussels, the Austrian Cultural Forum, MoCADA, CIP in New York and London.

Art and creativity have always been a focus at Le Meurice, built in 1835 on rue de Rivoli in the heart of Paris and a magnet for artists and celebrities since. Most notable was the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, who checked in for at least one month each year throughout the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. In 2006 General Manager Franka Holtmann tapped renowned French designer Phillipe Starck to lead an “invisible transformation” of Le Meurice. The designer secured the hotel’s prominence with artful renovations of all public spaces, including the transformation of La Dalí restaurant with a monumental ceiling canvas painted by his daughter, Ara Starck. Award-winning designer Charles Jouffre is currently conducting a redesign of luxurious guestrooms and suites.

“Creativity is at the heart of Le Meurice and the city of Paris, and the 2nd annual Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art puts both on display for the world to see. We are very excited to honor Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil for Black Out and to thank all the artists for their participation in our 2nd annual arts competition,” said General Manager Franka Holtmann. “Le Meurice is as much a part of Paris as Paris is of Le Meurice. Each embraces the glory, freedom and especially the French genius that are integral to their combined heritage. Together, they fire the imagination in ways that that will never be extinguished.”

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