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Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - KAIROS-Preis

What We Do


The KAIROS Prize has been awarded since 2007 to European artists and scholars from the fields of visual and performing arts, music, architecture, design, film, photography, literature and journalism. Both individual artistic achievements and the achievements of those who make culture in Europe possible and give it decisive impetus are honoured: Producers, artistic directors, publishers, festival directors and other initiators.

Named after the god of the "right moment" in Greek mythology, the prize is both recognition and encouragement: it is awarded to artists and cultural facilitators who work and have an impact in their fields in a pioneering, avant-garde and groundbreaking way, without having already reached the zenith of their creativity.

The KAIROS Prize is not intended as an award for a completed life's work, but as an impulse for further work.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl

With a prize money of € 75,000, the prize is one of the most highly endowed cultural prizes in Europe. Its concept combines the numerous previous cultural prizes awarded by the Foundation over many years and at the same time reflects the changed social, political and cultural conditions in today's Europe.

An independent board of trustees decides on the awarding of the prize. It is not possible to apply for the prize.

KAIROS Board of Trustees since July 2022

Zandile Darko, actress, theatre-maker, choreographer
Dr. Christian Demand, publisher of the magazine MERKUR
Anja Fix, deputy director of the ZDF main editorial office for culture and editorial director of 3sat-Kulturzeit
Dr. Lisa Kosok, former director of various museums, retired professor of cultural heritage and museum studies, head of the EU research project "Pleasurescapes. Port Cities` Transnational Forces of Integration".
Freo Majer, founder and artistic director of the mentorship programme "Forecast
Heike Catherina Mertens, cultural manager
Prof. Dr. Martin Zierold, Head of the Institute for Culture and Media Management, Hamburg University of Music and Theatre

Laureate 2020: Agnes Meyer-Brandis

Agnes Meyer-Brandis is an unusual artist, her work unique in every respect. In her installations, films and performances, she humorously and poetically combines findings and methods from a wide range of scientific disciplines with speculative theses and fictional narratives. The research raft she founded in 2003 - an institute for art and subjective science - asks questions without providing answers and is thus entirely in the tradition of modernist art.

Climate and space research, meteorology, synthetic biology, botany and geology are just some of the sciences that appear in her work. The artist flies geese to the moon, has Finnish fir trees make tea or allows exhibition visitors to have a biochemical conversation with a tree. Detailed information here.

Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - KAIROS-Preis

Agnes Meyer-Brandis studied at the art academies in Maastricht, Düsseldorf and Cologne. There, in the year of her diploma, she created her work "Bohrkernlabor und Elfen-Scan" (Drill Core Lab and Elf Scan), which uses a scanner to examine drill cores for elves and other life forms invisible to the naked eye. The subtle use of interactivity as a method of storytelling already distinguished this early work - in general, she is an excellent story creator and storyteller.

Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - KAIROS-Preis

Her Moon Goose Project, initiated in 2008, is inspired by the fantastic 17th century tale "Man in the Moone" by Frances Godwin, which describes an adventurous journey to the moon in a vehicle pulled by geese. Agnes Meyer-Brandis has updated this story: she has raised lunar geese, given them astronaut names, trained them to fly, undertaken expeditions and housed them in a habitat modelled on the moon.

Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - KAIROS-Preis

Precisely because Agnes Meyer-Brandis does not link political or didactic claims with her work, she opens up completely new, different approaches to nature and science and thus sharpens our view of topics such as climate change and environmental protection.

The award ceremony, originally scheduled for April 2020, was made up for on 17 October 2021 at the Hamburger Kunsthalle:

Previous award winners


Uta Gielke Deputy Head of the Programme Department, Head of Programme Culture

+49 40 33 402 – 14gielke@toepfer-stiftung.de