The day of the press preview at the Venice Biennale, the main topic of conversation was the German pavilion and Anne Imhof’s performance Faust. This admiration was substantiated on Saturday when the 38-year-old German artist won the Golden Lion. The jury praised her “powerful and disturbing installation that poses important questions about our time”.

Guarded by dogs, the interior of the pavilion was the setting for a blend of performance and chanting and was populated by a group of young dancers. They are prisoners beneath a glass structure on which the visitors to the pavilion walk endlessly all day. “Sinister”, says the New York Times, “chilling” says the Guardian. The performance left no one untouched. Lasting several hours, no journalist could see the entire choreographed performance. Some reported on the moment when the dancers are freed from their glass cage and mingle with the spectators, others saw them slither along the ground. Everyone witnessed a dark and agonized vision of society.

Anne Imhof is one of the rising stars of contemporary art. In 2016 she was one of the finalists of the Prix Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard. And the day after being awarded her Golden Lion, she also won the Absolut Art Award.

Her work was not the only one to be crowned at the Venetian ceremony. The Biennale jury also gave a special mention to the Brazilian pavilion; Franz Erhard Walther won the Golden Lion for best artist and Hassan Kahn was named the most promising artist of the Biennale. Charles Atlas and Petrit Halilaj were also given a special mention by the jury chaired by the director of the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Manuel J. Borja-Villel.

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