Tris Vonna-Michell - Winner of 2008
In his performances Tris Vonna-Michell unites fact and fiction. The events and stories rattled off at breakneck speed in his monologues are complemented by documents, music and literature. Finding Chopin (2008) traces the odyssey of trying to track down the legendary artist Henri Chopin in Paris in 2005. Vonna-Michell reconstructs his quest and the unanticipated hindrances encountered along the way, such as the theft of his entire archive. In his performances the artist integrates his visitors by giving them the opportunity to determine the time and manner of his presentation.
In addition to the cash prize, Baloise acquires a group of works by the award winners and donates them to two important European museums. Finding Chopin (2008) was presented to the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle.
Tris Vonna-Michell’s work consists of stories. Vonna-Michell is working in a tradition of relational aesthetics, focused in how history is created and constructed. He is readdressing an oral tradition of storytelling that has in contemporary information culture, been set aside for a text based knowledge. The artist’s practice is based in the urge to examine the potential within the narration as being able to, as a complete (re) construction, create new worlds. Tris Vonna-Michell’s subject matter is expansive in its character and often means longer commitments from the artist. His work contains a network of branches of information from journeys in Europe, Berlin and Paris. Stories are draw from various meetings with people, maps, tickets, photographs, video documentations, written letters, and even his own postcards all of which he presents in performances and/or in installations.