The Roland Prize for Art in Public Space 2018 goes to Michaela Melian (1956). The artist and musician lives in Munich and Hamburg, Germany.
The jury explains the decision as follows:
Michaela Melián was one of the first to occupy virtual space as a site for artistic interventions. One of her main fields of work is the public space – next to drawings, hand-sewn pictures, installations as well as music. She is a visual artist, audio playwright, solo musician and member of the band FSK. The topics she tackles artistically are as diverse as her interests: Body and gender relations, politics of memory and German history. Melián’s broadly scoped artwork continuously addresses sociopolitically and historically relevant questions.
Melián’s work in public space is manifold. Next to almost classic forms of art like installations, performance, and murals, she draws on audio plays, readings and sound experiences brought through radio and internet. This multi-layered approach allows her to extend the (real) public space with the virtual space. In this way, her acoustic memorial to the victims of National Socialism in Munich, Memory Loops, connects real places with their history and individual fates – forming a virtual (and invisible) web that will always be a part of the city.
Migration, the persecution of Jews, and National Socialist tyranny are important topics in Melián’s oeuvre. Based on extensive research, Melián develops innovative ways to deal with these topics and at the same time designs a new culture of remembrance.
Lastly, Michaela Melián’s pop-cultural aesthetics succeed to target a younger audience.