2021: ORLAN

The François Morellet Prize 2021 awarded to ORLAN

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, after the jury’s deliberation, the François Morellet Prize 2021 was awarded to ORLAN for her book Autobiographie. Strip-tease, tout sur sa vie, tout sur son art, to be published in May 2021 by Gallimard.
Under the honorary presidency of Danielle Morellet, ORLAN’s autobiographical narrative was unanimously designated the winner of the François Morellet Prize 2021, after reading a digital proof of the manuscript.
The jury, composed of Philippe Méaille, president of the Château de Montsoreau – Museum of contemporary art, Marie-Caroline Chaudruc, vice-president of the Château de Montsoreau – Museum of contemporary art, and Jean-Maurice Belayche, co-founder of the Journées nationales du Livre et du Vin, also wished to pay tribute to ORLAN’s extraordinary artistic career.
The award ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at the Saumur theater during the 25th edition of the Journées nationales du Livre et du Vin, under the theme of « ivresse littéraire ».



ORLAN is one of the most important French artists internationally recognized.
She uses sculpture, photography, artificial intelligence and robotics (she has created a robot in her image that speaks with her voice), performance, video, 3D, video games, augmented reality as well as scientific and medical techniques such as surgery and biotechnology.

ORLAN constantly and radically changes the rules, deregulating conventions and ready-to-think.
She opposes natural, social and political determinism, all forms of domination, male supremacy, religion, cultural segregation, racism…
Always mixed with humor, sometimes parody or even grotesque, her work questions the phenomena of society and challenges the pre-established codes.

In 2003 ORLAN was elevated to the rank of Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Minister of Culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon.

In 2010 she was honored with the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand.

In 2015, ORLAN was invited in residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, USA, as a researcher.

In 2016, ORLAN was awarded the E-reputation prize, designating the artist most observed and commented on the web.

In 2017 ORLAN was awarded the Female Excellence Award for all her work as an artist by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2018, ORLAN received the 100 Heroines Award by The Royal Photographic Society.

In 2019, ORLAN is honored with the special Woman of the Year award, given by Prince Albert II of Monaco.

In 2020, ORLAN is honored with the medal of the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

In 2021, ORLAN wrote her autobiography « ORLAN, STRIP-TEASE : TOUT SUR SA VIE, TOUT SUR SON ART » published by Gallimard and received the François Morellet Prize.

2020: Kenneth Goldsmith

On October 11, 2020, the François Morellet Prize will be awarded to Kenneth Goldsmith for his book Duchamp is my lawyer. The polemics, pragmatics, and poetics of Ubuweb, published in 2020 by Columbia University Press.

In 1996, when the web was relatively new, Kenneth Goldsmith created the UbuWeb platform in order to publish hard-to-find works of concrete poetry. Beginning as a sharing site for works from a relatively obscure literary movement, UbuWeb has become an essential archive of avant-garde and experimental literature, film, and music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Thanks to the site, people around the world now have access to canonical works by artists such as Kara Walker, Yoko Ono, Pauline Oliveros, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Duchamp, Cecil Taylor, Glenn Ligon, William Burroughs, and Jean-Luc Godard.

In Duchamp is my lawyer, Goldsmith revisits the history of UbuWeb, explaining the motivations behind its creation and how works are archived, consumed, and distributed online. Drawing on his own experiences and interviews with experts, Goldsmith describes how the site navigates copyright issues and how it challenges the history of the avant-garde. The book also describes the growth of other « shadow libraries » and discusses artists whose work aligns with the goals, aesthetics, and ethics of UbuWeb. It concludes by contrasting UbuWeb’s commitment to the free culture movement with the current gatekeepers of algorithmic culture, such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify.

Kenneth Goldsmith is, by turns, MoMA’s first poetry laureate, founder and editor of UbuWeb, professor of Uncreative Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, and host of New York radio station WFMU. He advocates for writing that is not plagiarized, copied, or retranscribed. Considered a major figure in contemporary creation, he is also a paradox, when he is received at the White House as an author, while he has publicly admitted to stealing the words of others, and advocates plagiarism.
Following the model of Conceptual Art, Kenneth Goldsmith develops his texts according to new forms of installation and dissemination, reflecting on the new possibilities offered by the digital world and the Internet.
He is notably the author of Theory (2015) and Writing without Writing: Language in the Digital Age (2018).

In 2020, the region of Pays de la Loire joins the National Book and Wine Days and the Château de Montsoreau – Museum of Contemporary Art to present the François Morellet Prize.


2016: Catherine Millet

The first François Morellet Prize was awarded on April 10, 2016 to Catherine Millet for her body of critical work.
Catherine Millet then pointed out that she had chosen for the cover of the first edition of her book l’Art Contemporain en France a photo of François Morellet’s famous neon light. She also drew a parallel between the works of the Art & Language collective exhibited at the Château de Montsoreau – Museum of contemporary art and the work of François Morellet: « There is a continuity between this very geometric and rigorous art form practised (with a lot of humour) by François Morellet and Art & Language composed of a group of very theoretical and funny artists ».

De gauche à droite: Philippe Méaille, Frédéric Morellet, Danielle Morellet, Michel Onfray, Jean-Maurice Belayche

2017: Michel Onfray

The Prix François Morellet 2017 was awarded to Michel Onfray on May 14 in 2017 for his writings on Contemporary Art. French philosopher and essayist, Michel Onfray created in 2002 the Popular University of Caen. His media reach is reinforced by regular interventions on TV or radio where he expresses himself about political and social debates. Michel Onfray has written more than eighty books. His thinking is mainly influenced by philosophers such as Nietzsche and Epicure, by the cynical school, by French materialism and by Pro-Dhonian anarchism.
In his conference « Must Contemporary Art Burn? « (ed. Frémeaux et associés) Michel Onfray « offers us a rare opportunity to question the foundations of what constitutes the artistic production of our time, to understand, judge and appreciate it.

With his usual clarity, he delivers the keys to a world too often closed to the general public, absent from our education and neglected by thinkers. By going back over the history and the causes of the construction of a movement, on the meaning of the works in the face of the questions of our society, Michel Onfray awakens curiosity and interest: he finally opens the doors of museums and contemporary art collections to us. »
(Lola Caul-Futy Frémeaux).

2018: Eric de Chassey

In 2018, the François Morellet Prize was awarded to Eric de Chassey for his book Après la Fin, Suspensions et reprises de la peinture dans les années 1960 – 1970, published by Éditions Klincksieck.

The book analyses the questions about Art developed in the 1960s and up to the end of the 1970s, the period of the supposed end of modernism, when the status of the artist was itself called into question. In the course of the chapters, this book exposes the different answers brought by the artists: change of medium, stopping all artistic practice for a few years, or even definitively. Even if most of those who had given up painting have returned, an understanding of the suspension of painting for almost twenty years sheds essential light on the history of contemporary art.

2019: Bernar Venet

In 2019, the François Morellet Prize was awarded to Bernar Venet for his book Poetic? Poetic? Anthologie 1967-2017 published by Jean Boîte.

Poetic? Poetic? Anthology 1967-2017 brings together for the first time the entire production of poetry ever exhibited and rarely published by the French artist Bernar Venet. This sum of 248 poems constitutes an essential marker of the conceptual writing that appeared in the 1960s and with our hindsight positions itself as one of the cornerstones of a major literary shift in the 20th century: writing without writing, the keystone of our relationship to the text in the digital age.
The texts, written in French, English or mathematical language, composed in lists, diagrams or prose that can be appreciated at a purely informative level, are here cut and pasted, the information they carry being moved into the field of poetry. By this gesture, Bernar Venet brings the visual and musical material of pure knowledge to the surface of the page. The lack of understanding of the text or the obsolescence of the information gives this ensemble a poetic force with an encyclopaedic charm.