This year, the International Folkwang Prize is awarded to Barbara Klemm (*1939). She is one of the most renowned contemporary photographers in Germany. The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros and has been awarded by the Folkwang Museum Society since 2010. The award ceremony will take place on November 8, 2021, as part of the Folkwang-Museumsverein's festive annual reception.
"With her photographic oeuvre routed both in her humanistic as well as artistic perspective, Barbara Klemm has contributed decisive impulses to the reception and mediation of societal developments in the sense of the Folkwang philosophy. She has thus crucially promoted the establishment of photography as an art form beyond its reception in the context of a museum. As a photographer who focuses her work largely on people, Barbara Klemm has set photographic memorials to political events in Central Europe; during her photographic journeys to other continents and countries, she has drawn an alternative picture of non-European cultures in kinship to Karl Ernst Osthaus ideology. With farsightedness and great artistic integrity, she has sensitized a broad audience in the mass democratic media and with her insightful and sensitive portraits, the everyday life of people working in the cultural sector has been conveyed and brought close to many others ," says the chairman of the Folkwang-Museumsverein Ulrich Blank.
Barbara Klemm is one of the most distinguished photographers of the post-war period. With her documentaries on travel, portraits and photographs of political upheavals and everyday scenes, she left an imprint on Germany's pictorial memory for several decades. One of her most famous photos, the "Bruderkuss" between SED party leader Honecker and Soviet leader Brezhnev (1979), was widely distributed all over the world. The photographer, who was born on December 27, 1939 in Münster, Westphalia, grew up in Karlsruhe, where she completed an apprenticeship as a photographer in a portrait studio from 1955 to 1958. In 1959 she began working for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), for which she was an editorial photographer from 1970 to the end of 2004, focusing on politics and feature pages. Since 1992 she has been a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin-Brandenburg and since 2000 an honorary professor at the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt in the field of photography at the Department of Design.back