Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg has won the twentieth edition of the Deutsche Börse Foundation Photography Prize for her project “Imperial Courts, 1993–2015,” a portrait series of residents of the social housing project in Watts, Los Angeles, which she first visited after the 1992 race riots. The 2017 winner was announced at an award ceremony at the Photographers’ Gallery in London. Lixenberg will receive a nearly $40,000 prize.
“Lixenberg’s work is simultaneously understated and emphatic, reflecting a cool sobriety, which allows her subjects to own the gaze and their contexts without sentimentality or grandiosity,” Brett Rogers, the director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London and jury chair, said.
The New York– and Amsterdam-based artist is best known for pursuing long-term projects that focus on individuals and communities on the margins of society. Lixenberg began photographing the Imperial Courts in 1993 and continued to document the neighborhood for the next twenty-two years. A photo essay of her earliest portraits from the project was first published in the November 1993 issue of Vibe magazine, and her photo book “Imperial Courts, 1993–2015” was published by Roma Publications in 2015.
The jury comprised curators Susan Bright and Karolina Lewandowska, artist Pieter Hugo, and the director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Anne-Marie Beckmann. Lixenberg’s work will be on display along with pieces by the short-listed artists, Sophie Calle, Awoiska van der Molen, and Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, at the Photographers’ Gallery until June 11, after which it will travel to the MMK in Frankfurt and the Aperture Foundation in New York.