Danish artist Thomas Poulsen, who works under the name FOS, has won the 2017 Arken Art Prize, which recognizes contributions to contemporary art. He will receive an award of $14,500. The prize’s two $7,200 travel grants went to Nina Beier and Marie Kølbæk Iversen.
Arken director Christian Gether said that FOS was recognized for his “critical social investigations of the ordinary life that unfolds between physical spaces and social situations. Based on his concept of ‘social design’ his experimental art disrupts our habitual thinking about what art is and should be.”
Known for works that explore the intersections between architecture, design, art, and performance, FOS has created projects such as Oslo Bar, a series of social events staged at various locations in Copenhagen in the late 1990s. The work was revived as a floating public space featuring a bar, auditorium, and radio station in 2010 and was then restaged at the Venice Biennale the following year. In 2006, the artist designed a shelter for men, Mændenes Hjem on Istedgade in central Copenhagen, in collaboration with Kenneth Balfelt.
Born in 1971, Poulsen graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1999 and currently lives and works in Copenhagen. In 2010, he received the Carl Nielsens and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsens Prize, and in 2006 he received a three-year work grant from the National Arts Fund. FOS is represented by Andersen’s Contemporary in Copenhagen and Max Wigram Gallery in London.