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Mohamed Bourouissa, Ride Day #3, 2019.
Mohamed Bourouissa, Ride Day #3, 2019.

Photographer Mohamed Bourouissa Wins 2020 Deutsche Börse Prize

Mohamed Bourouissa, known for his photographs of marginalized and economically disenfranchised people, has been announced as the recipient of the 2020 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation prize. The Algeria-born Bourouissa, who lives and works in Paris, won the $39,000 prize for his politically charged 2019 installation Free Trade, first exhibited at a Monoprix supermarket in Arles, France.

The installation, which took up an entire floor of the grocery store, encompassed five of the artist’s projects made during the past 15 years, including his 2005–2008 series “Périphérique,” focusing on the lives of unemployed youths in the banlieues of Paris; the 2009 project “Temps mort,” on which he collaborated with two prisoners; and the haunting 2014–15 series “Shoplifters,” for which he rephotographed Polaroids of shoplifters taken by Brooklyn store owners.

Bourouissa—whose practice encompasses various mediums, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and video, including smartphone and surveillance footage—has said of his work: “When I was in school, I learned about the history of art. But that didn’t introduce other aspects of my home culture or leave traces of the people around me, so later I decided to try to bring my home culture into the history of art. For me it’s about the idea of integration: how we can integrate our own histories into that one.”

Brett Rogers, chair of the prize jury and director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London, where a less-sprawling version of Bourouissa’s winning installation is on view alongside the work of others shortlisted for the award through September 20, called the artist’s work “phenomenal,” going on to say, “It would be impossible not to consider this year’s award announcement through the lens of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the many deep-rooted social, economic, racial and political injustices it has exposed and amplified.”