William Forsythe receives the Kyoto Prize

Black and white portrait photo of artist, dancer and choreographer William Forsythe.
William Forsythe © Stephan Floss

William Forsythe, known for his innovative choreographies and interdisciplinary projects, has expanded the boundaries of traditional ballet far beyond the usual. His works, which are often described as a mixture of dance, theatre and visual art, have gained worldwide recognition and made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary dance.

Forsythe is closely associated with the ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival. Eidos:Telos, performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1998, and his 2008 installation Scattered Crowd with four thousand white balloons in the columned hall of the Austrian Parliament are unforgettable. He is now back in 2024 with four more of his Choreographic Objects. On 11 July, these will open the festival in cooperation with the MAK - Museum of Applied Arts. The installations City of Abstracts (2001), Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 2 (2013), Putting one foot in front of the other (2019) and Attempt to walk without a rhythm (2023) can be experienced from 20:00 (and up to and including 18 August). These choreographic objects are not revealed solely by looking at them. Only the reaction and the resulting movement of the audience create a comprehensive overall choreography that transcends genre boundaries and completes the works.

The Kyoto Prize, one of the highest international honours awarded for outstanding contributions in the fields of science, technology, art and philosophy, underlines Forsythe’s extraordinary influence on dance, the visual arts and beyond.

William Forsythe, born in New York in 1949, has received numerous awards and honours throughout his career, including the Bessie Award and the Golden Lion of the Biennale di Venezia, presented by Ismael Ivo. With the Kyoto Prize, he now joins the list of visionary artists who have made a lasting impact on the world through their creativity and commitment.

It is a pleasure and an honour for us to open this year’s festival with this outstanding artist!