Éric Baudelaire, 2019. Photo: Manuel Braun. Courtesy of the Centre Pompidou.

Éric Baudelaire Wins France’s Marcel Duchamp Prize

On Monday, October 14, the Franco American filmmaker Éric Baudelaire was selected as the winner of the 2019 Marcel Duchamp Prize. Administered by the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Association pour la Diffusion Internationale de l’Art Français (ADIAF), the nearly $40,000 award is France’s biggest art prize. While Baudelaire is the nineteenth recipient of the honor, he is only the second filmmaker to win the accolade—the first was Clément Cogitore, who received the prize last year. 

Katinka Bock, Marguerite Humeau, and Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille were also shortlisted for the prize. In a statement, the jury—consisting of Bernard Blistène, Gilles Fuchs, Joao Fernandes, Jean de Loisy, Afroditi Panagiotakou, Catherine Petigas, and Akemi Shiraha—praised the artists and remarked on how difficult it was to choose a winner. Ultimately, they decided to recognize Baudelaire for his work on his most recent film, Un Film Dramatique. For the documentary, which was shot over a period of four years, Baudelaire spent time with young Parisian artists attending the Dora Maar Middle School in Saint-Denis. In the film, which had its US premiere at the New York Film Festival earlier this month, students experiment with cameras and discuss film in addition to other topics, including identity and representations of power. The 114-minute work is the longest film the artist has ever made; it is also the most expensive. 

Baudelaire said he created Un Film Dramatique as part of France’s 1 percent program, which commissions public art with 1 percent of the construction budget for new public buildings. Since the school was built across the street from a huge cinema production facility, the program’s committee decided to invite an artist who makes film and video work to propose a project. On making a film instead of an object, Baudelaire said: “Rather than having an artwork in the building . . . the building and the life inside the building is inside of the artwork.” The film will also function as a public piece because it will be circulated for free online. Born in Salt Lake City in 1973, Baudelaire lives and works in France and is represented by the galleries Greta Meert in Brussels, Barbara Wien in Berlin, and Juana de Aizpuru in Madrid. An exhibition featuring Baudelaire and the shortlisted artists’ works will be on view at the Centre Pompidou until January 4, 2020.