Lisa Oppenheim wins $50,000 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize

The 2014 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize has been awarded to Lisa Oppenheim of the US. Oppenheim, who is based in New York, was selected by public vote to receive the $50,000 CDN prize in addition to a six-week, fully funded residency in Canada in early 2015.

Runners-up David Hartt (Canada), Elad Lassry (Israel/USA), and Nandipha Mntambo (South Africa) each also receive a six-week residency as well as $5,000 to support their artistic practices.

Lisa Oppenheim was born in 1975 in New York City, where she lives and works. Oppenheim’s photographs and videos, including those that are a part of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2014 Exhibition, are composed of images and materials from the recent and not-so-recent past that she reprocesses and transforms through various historical and contemporary techniques. Her process often begins online, where she sources images and objects that she reinterprets photographically using both analogue and digital technologies. Through this approach, the process itself becomes source material, as Oppenheim gives photographic images new forms and new contexts. Recent solo exhibitions include Forever is Composed of Nows at the Kunsterverin in Hamburg; From Abigail to Jacob (Works 2004-2014) at the Kunstverein in Graz; and Heaven Blazing into the Head at the Approach Gallery in London. Oppenheim graduated with an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College in 2002.

The shortlist was announced on August 13, 2014, after being selected by an international jury comprising lead juror Sophie Hackett, the AGO’s associate curator of photography; Okwui Enwezor, Nigerian-born, German-based scholar, curator, writer and director of Haus der Kunst, Munich; and New York–based photo and video artist Laurie Simmons. Voting began that same day at, within the travelling Aimia AGO Photography Prize Art Truck and on the Prize’s Facebook page. The public also had the opportunity to vote at the AGO inside the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize 2014 exhibition, which remains on view at the AGO until January 5, 2015.

“The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is truly unique amongst international art prizes,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “It is particularly exciting to award this prize to Lisa Oppenheim, because it represents a groundswell of public engagement with contemporary photography. Offering our public a strong voice is something we are very proud to do. I offer my sincere congratulations to Lisa and to all of the shortlisted artists.”

“We are delighted to see our partnership with the AGO, now in its seventh year, continue to inspire a public dialogue within Canada about contemporary photography through the prize,” said Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada, Aimia. “Aimia is committed to supporting the arts in Canada, and we are proud that the 2014 Aimia | AGO Photography Prize was able to provide a positive platform for all four artists, especially at such a pivotal moment in their careers. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to each of them.”

Previous winners of the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize include Canada’s Erin Shirreff (2013), Jo Longhurst of the UK (2012), Gauri Gill of India (2011), Canada’s Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of Mexico (2009), and Canada’s Sarah Anne Johnson (2008).

The Aimia | AGO Photography Prize is Canada’s most significant award for contemporary photography, recognizing photographers from around the world whose work has exhibited extraordinary potential over the preceding five years. It has a total annual prize value of more than $100,000, with $50,000 awarded to the winner, $5,000 awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists and $25,000 supporting a national scholarship program for students studying photography at select institutions across Canada. The remainder funds six-week residencies for the four shortlisted artists at institutions across Canada.

For more information and updates about the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize, please visit and follow @AimiaAGOPrize on Twitter.