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American artist wins new prize

The world premiere of de Maria's "The 2000 Sculpture" at the Kunsthaus in Zurich, November 1999.

(Kunsthaus Zurich)

The American artist, Walter de Maria, has become the first person to receive the new Roswitha-Haftmann prize for fine arts worth SFr120,000.

In a statement published on Tuesday, de Maria said: "This is a great honour... such an award motivates me to carry on."

De Maria won acclaim for his "vertical earth kilometre" made from brass, which dates back to 1977. He is also famed for his giant constructions, minimalist creations and "land art" as well as conceptual art.

However, some of his gigantic projects were never fully realised. His "Three Continent Project", which aimed to take simultaneous satellite photos of the Indian desert, the Sahara and Nevada, was never completed.

His latest project "The 2000 Sculpture" was put on show this summer at the Hamburg Bahnhof in Berlin. It had its world premier in Zurich in 1992, and brought together 2,000 gypsum poles to create the appearance of a landscape.

The prize is named after the Zurich gallery owner, Roswitha Haftmann, who died in 1998 and instructed her heirs to set up a foundation in her name.

swissinfo with agencies

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