The jury of the Bernard Heidsieck – Centre Pompidou International Prize for Literature selected the winners Anne-James Chaton and Esther Ferrer for the 2022 edition. The prize is supported by Archivio Conz, Berlin, a collection of Lettrism, Concrete Poetry and Fluxus.
Two awards were presented during the evening:
The Prix d'Honneur, which rewards an author for the remarkable aspect of his or her work as a whole, was awarded to Esther Ferrer, a major and historical figure of action poetry. The Prix de l'Année, which honors an author for his or her literary creation outside of books, was awarded to Anne-James Chaton.
On October 31, Patti Smith received a Special Mention from the Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou 2022 International Prize for Literature. Smith was selected to receive the award due to her lifelong commitment to performance, sound, and poetry, and her continual pursuit of new ways to evolve these mediums. Smith’s dedication to recital and performance is in resonance with the work of artists such as Henri Chopin and Bernard Heidsieck, who are part of the collection at Archivio Conz.
The Bernard Heidsieck – Centre Pompidou Literary Prize was created in 2017 as part of the EXTRA! festival of living literature, with the support of Archivio Conz. This international literature prize intends to honor and reward multiple and diverse forms of creation and dissemination of literature, often other than books: sound poetry, performance, performed lecture, reading, film-poem, radio creation, exposed literature, digital literature, etc. Placed under the aegis of the poet Bernard Heidsieck (1928–2014), a true pioneer of sound poetry, this literary prize of the Centre Pompidou thus asserts its great singularity.
Born in 1937 in San Sebastián (Spain) and living in Paris since the early 1970s, Esther Ferrer is a major figure in the art of the last fifty years, a pioneer of action art and performance art. This honorary prize rewards Esther Ferrer’s deep attachment to language, to speech as well as to a poetry of gesture and action that has always made her present in the world of sound and performance poetry.
In 1967, she joined the group Zaj composed of Walter Marchetti and Juan Hidalgo. Their art, influenced by John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, is based on minimalist gestures and ordinary objects and has given rise to numerous concerts, actions, publications and installations. Since 1967, Esther Ferrer has been invited to the most prestigious festivals for her real time yet unimprovised performances. She writes texts, like scores with notes and drawings; her measured gestures are organized in a musical and poetic way. From the 1970s onwards, she also developed a photographic and drawing practice. She creates canvases, thus ensuring a continuity between her performances and her plastic work. For Esther Ferrer art is political as a place of affirmation, of the construction of the subject, the place of freedom in front of diktats of all kinds. Esther Ferrer represented Spain at the Venice Biennale in 1999.
Born in 1970 in Besançon (France), the writer, performer and artist Anne-James Chaton has developed a multi-polar work, based on a continuous study of the textual materials that punctuate the daily life of contemporary societies. This «poor» literature, produced on a daily basis by a multitude of machines - cash register receipts, museum entrance tickets, flyers, business cards, credit cards, subscriptions, etc. - constitutes the material for his textual, sound and visual work. The plural and polyglot dimension of his work has led him to develop projects with artists from other scenes and other languages. He has created pieces with Phia Ménard, Sylvain Prunenec, Valeria Giuga, and has written numerous albums with guitarist Andy Moor (The Ex), German musician Carsten Nicolaï aka Alva Noto and Sonic Youth member Thurston Moore. His books are published in France by Editions P.O.L. and his sound compositions are published on the German label Noton. Anne-James Chaton was a resident at the Villa Medici, French Academy in Rome in 2020. The jury wanted to reward the great coherence of Anne-James Chaton’s literary work, beyond the multiple and often original forms that are invested, and underlined the conceptual strength of her writing, recognized in France and abroad. The great continuity, even the filiation with the figure and the work of the poet and performer Bernard Heidsieck was also noted.
Patti Smith, born in Chicago (1946) and raised in South Jersey, moved to New York City in 1967. Her many accomplishments as a performer, writer, musician and visual artist are recognized worldwide. Released in 1975, Patti Smith's first album, Horses, was added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2010 by the National Recording Preservation Board. She has received four Grammy and Golden Globe nominations for the song "Mercy Is" co-written with Lenny Kaye for the film Noah. Patti Smith received the prestigious 2010 National Book Award for her bestselling memoir, Just Kids, which chronicles her deep friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the evolution of their work. Smith has been awarded the title of "Commandeur des arts et des lettres" by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Patti Smith's photographs, drawings and installations have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Currently, Patti Smith writes, performs, supports human rights issues and environmental groups, primarily Pathway to Paris, a non-profit organization co-founded by her daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, that proposes tangible solutions to combat the global climate. She resides in New York City. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her career on May 21, 2022, for her body of work.