iSTAN Lifetime Achievement Award

Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss

The International Stage Art Network iSTAN is pleased to announce that the iSTAN lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss, a Swedish stage artist who has dedicated her life to the stage arts and influenced the performing arts through her extraordinary achievements.

Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss is a set designer, costume designer, sculptor and ceramicist. She was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1928, and eventually settled in Stockholm after the Second World War. She is an Honorary Member of the International Stage Art Network iSTAN.

Palmstierna-Weiss collaborated frequently with Peter Brook during the 1960s as well as with Ingmar Bergman. In 1966 she won Tony Award for Best Costume for Peters Brook's Broadway production of Marat/Sade.

Both Gunilla's parents were doctors, and she spent her childhood in Austria, France and Holland. During WWII, together with her mother, she moved to Rotterdam and later to Berlin. She studied art in Amsterdam and Paris after the war and eventually settled down in Stockholm.

Gunilla married the German playwright, painter and film producer Peter Weiss in 1952. Palmstierna-Weiss and her husband worked closely together on theatre projects from the 1960s onward. In 1966 she collaborated for the first time with the world renowned director Ingmar Bergman as the set designer on the play Investigation, written by Peter Weiss, at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Salzburg, and then again in Munich. From then on, over a period of 25 years, she designed 19 productions for Ingmar Bergman.

After Weiss' death in 1982, Palmstierna-Weiss curated and held a lot of exhibitions on stage design. She translated Weiss' works from German to Swedish, and published 6 books on Weiss' work and life. In 1997 the Bochum Museum in Germany held the first exhibition on Palmstierna-Weiss' stage design works. In 2011 the Taktil Gallery in Sweden invited Palmstierna-Weiss to repeat the exhibition. In October 2013, Palmstierna-Weiss published her autobiography, Minnets Spelplats (Memory Venue). In 2014, Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss was awarded "The Royal Medal of Honour" by the Swedish Academy (the same organization that awards the Nobel Prize for literature).

On 29 October 2016, Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss was awarded the iSTAN Lifetime Achievement Award in Beijing. The Swedish Cultural Counsellor in China, Lafolie Mathias, accepted the award on her behalf.