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Venice Biennale awards German artists 2 Golden Lions

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/13/2017 By COLLEEN BARRY, Associated Press
The performers team of 'Faust', by German artist Anne Imhof, winner of the Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, pose in St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press The performers team of 'Faust', by German artist Anne Imhof, winner of the Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, pose in St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

MILAN (AP) — Germany has swept the 57th Venice Biennale, winning top Golden Lion prizes for the best national pavilion and best artist in the main curated show on opening day of the six-month contemporary art fair, the world's oldest.

An installation by Anne Imhof is seen at the Pavilion of Germany, during a preview of the 57th International Art Exhibition, in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. The Exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th 2017, at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press An installation by Anne Imhof is seen at the Pavilion of Germany, during a preview of the 57th International Art Exhibition, in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. The Exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th 2017, at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

Anne Imhof's bold "Faust" exhibit mixing performance, sculpture and installation with touches of goth and S&M was cited by the jury as a "a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions of our time and pushes the spectator into an aware state of anxiety."

An installation by Anne Imhof is seen at the Pavilion of Germany, during a preview of the 57th International Art Exhibition, in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. The Exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th 2017, at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press An installation by Anne Imhof is seen at the Pavilion of Germany, during a preview of the 57th International Art Exhibition, in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. The Exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th 2017, at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

In Imhof's exhibition, black-clad contemporaries of the 39-year-old artist move above and below a raised glass floor, under which are placed scattered objects, including a black mattress with a strewn sheet, handcuffs and spoons. Dobermans pace threateningly in a fenced in area in front of the pavilion.

US artist Carolee Schneemann, center, winner of the career Golden Lion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, holds her trophy in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press US artist Carolee Schneemann, center, winner of the career Golden Lion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, holds her trophy in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

"My work stands for the grace of thoughts, for liberty, for the right to be different, for gender nonconformity, and the pride of being a woman in this world," Imhof said at a ceremony in the Venice Giardini, where many of the national pavilions are located.

German artist Anne Imhof holds up her Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. At right is Cabinet Undersecretary Maria Elena Boschi. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press German artist Anne Imhof holds up her Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. At right is Cabinet Undersecretary Maria Elena Boschi. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

"The piece we developed for the German pavilion makes transparent the past but it speaks to the future," she said.

German artist Anne Imhof, center, holds up her Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. At right is Cabinet Undersecretary Maria Elena Boschi. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press German artist Anne Imhof, center, holds up her Golden Lion for Best National Pavillion award at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. At right is Cabinet Undersecretary Maria Elena Boschi. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

The pavilion's curator, Susanne Pfeffer, said that the work "is really about inclusion and exclusion. It is a crucial and existential question for a lot of human beings," not only migrants but also the working poor struggling to get by.

German artist Franz Erhard Walterf, right, holds his Golden Lion for Best Artist award of the Viva Arte Viva section, at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. At right is Cabinet Undersecretary Maria Elena Boschi. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP) © The Associated Press German artist Franz Erhard Walterf, right, holds his Golden Lion for Best Artist award of the Viva Arte Viva section, at the 57th Venice Biennale contemporary art show, in Venice, Italy, Saturday, May, 13, 2017. The Biennale made the awards Saturday as the oldest contemporary art fair opened its six-month stint. At right is Cabinet Undersecretary Maria Elena Boschi. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

Winning the Golden Lion in the main "Viva Arte Viva" exhibition was Franz Erhard Walter, a 77-year-old artist based in Fulda, Germany who is recognized as one of the most radical artists of the second half of 20th century whose work has influenced many young contemporary artists.

Walter exhibited works that combine textile, culture and performance, including a wall installation that invites the viewer to enter the work. The jury cited Walter for "the radical and complex nature of his work, which transcends our time and suggests the contemporary mutation of a transitory life."

The 57th Venice Biennale is comprised of 86 national pavilions and the curated main show, titled "Arte Viva Arte" with works by 120 artists from 51 countries. It runs through Nov. 26 in the Giardini, the Arsenale and other scattered locations throughout the historic center of Venice.

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