Mimosa Echard has been named the winner of this year’s Prix Marcel Duchamp, the most prestigious art prize in France. The honor comes with €35,000 ($41,000) and funding to produce an exhibition at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, which co-organizes the prize. Previous recipients of the award include Kader Attia, Latifa Echakhch, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Kapwani Kiwanga. In an effort to increase awareness of contemporary French art abroad, the prize this year also comes with a 2023 residency with the Villa Albertine in a US city of the artist’s choice.
Echard, who grew up in a commune in south central France and is now Paris-based, roots her multidisciplinary practice in the ever-shifting relationship between human and non-human life as well as animate and inanimate matter, imagining hybrid ecosystems where species ambiguously intermingle. For the Duchamp prize, the artist conceived, appropriately, a kind of fountain; titled Escape more, 2022, this “liquid painting” or “desiring screen” produces continuous visual flows that evoke bodily fluids and the ambivalent permeability of biological boundaries. The work is on view at the Centre Pompidou through January 2 alongside work by the other finalists for the prize: Giulia Andreani, Iván Argote, and Philippe Decrauzat.
Other recent work by Echard includes Sporal, 2022, a role-playing video game whose protagonist attempts to morph into different life-forms using fluids from other species. The single-cell hero is inspired by the artist’s research into myxomycetes, highly adaptable organisms also known as slime molds. “The strength of the project lies in its coupling of ecological thinking with the powerful forces of fantasy and desire, rather than solely with the apocalyptic terror to which we have become accustomed,” writes Laura McLean-Ferris of Sporal in the October issue of Artforum. “In this porous, interdependent universe, gender and sexuality exist in new liquid forms, and transformation is an end in itself.”