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Zac Langdon-Pole Named BMW Art Journey Award Winner

Art Basel announced that the New Zealand–born, Berlin-based artist Zac Langdon-Pole has been named the next winner of the BMW Art Journey. An international jury unanimously selected Langdon-Pole from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Discoveries sector at this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong.

Langdon-Pole’s installation at Auckland gallery Michael Lett’s booth at the fair comprised a new series of works, “Passport,” for which he fused two disparate materials: iron meteorites and nautilus shells. By pairing objects in configurations that are different from how viewers are accustomed to seeing them, the artist challenges notions of identity and creates new narratives.

For his BMW Art Journey, Langdon-Pole will follow the flight paths of birds. Migrating birds cover some of the longest distances traveled by any living being and their routes have guided the Polynesian pathfinders across the ocean. Traveling along the Earth’s axis, through Central Europe, Southern Africa, and the Pacific Islands of Samoa and Hawaii, the artist seeks to understand how culture intersects with the science of celestial mapping—and, from there, his work flows into larger existential inquiries about who we are and how we are situated in the world.

The jury consisted of Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York; Claire Hsu, director of the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Bose Krishnamachari, president of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; Matthias Mühling, director of the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; and Pauline J. Yao, curator of visual art at M+, Hong Kong.

Commenting on the proposal, titled “Sutures of the Sky,” the jury said: “The first artistic expressions of humanity, until the nineteenth century, had been largely inspired by the beauty, grandeur, and spellbinding mysteries of nature. After the Enlightenment, this view of the wonders of the world became outdated. Zac Langdon-Pole’s concept of an artist’s journey brings this sense of wonder back to art, and as an occasion for ideological and political reflection.”