The OFF-Biennale named as one of the grant recipients of the Igor Zabel Award

For the fifth time, the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory honours the exceptional cultural achievements of those who are contributing to a deeper international exposure of visual art and culture in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The jury has made its decision: Viktor Misiano will be honoured with the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2016 for his outstanding curatorial achievements, writings and editorial work related to contemporary art in Russia and in the broader international sphere. The jury acknowledges Misiano as one of the most important art professionals and cultural agents in Eastern Europe over the last thirty years. The prize is endowed with EUR 40,000.

The jury emphasises that, “through his writing and curatorial projects, Viktor Misiano has been reacting to urgent questions and paradigm shifts in Eastern Europe and in a broader international context. In the 1990s, Misiano analysed whether there even is something that can be considered an Eastern European identity. In the 2000s he became interested in art with political responses towards globalisation processes. Now he is involved in exploring questions of humanity in an ontological and metaphysical sense. Editorial work represents an important component of Misiano’s activities. In 1993 he founded the Moscow Art Magazine and has been its editor-in-chief ever since. In 2003, together with Igor Zabel, he founded and edited the first six issues of MJ – Manifesta Journal: Journal of Contemporary Curatorship, and served as its editor-in-chief until 2011. His friendship with Igor Zabel and other colleagues from Eastern Europe can be defined by his own term institutionalisation of friendship, which still serves as an alternative to different networks and relations imposed from the outside.”

International jury also awards two grants, one grant is given by the award winner

This year, the jury of the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory consists of Zdenka Badovinac, director of MG+MSUM in Ljubljana (chair), Vít Havránek, director of tranzit.cz in Prague, and the artist Roman Ondák from Bratislava. In addition to the award, the jury also presents two grants (each worth EUR 12,000): this time to the Romanian curator and art historian Anca Verona Mihuleţ and to the OFF-Biennale Budapest 2015 and its organisers Nikolett Erőss, Anna Juhász, Hajnalka Somogyi, Tijana Stepanović, Borbála Szalai, Katalin Székely and János Szoboszlai. The third grant (also worth EUR 12,000) is traditionally awarded by the laureate. Viktor Misiano awarded it to the curator Viviana Checchia from Italy.

Viviana Checchia will be awarded a grant by Viktor Misiano “for her contribution to the comprehension of and international interest in Eastern European art” (www.vesselartproject.org).

Anca Verona Mihuleţ will be awarded a grant for being “one of the most promising young Eastern European curators, who has lately been especially interested in comparing different Southern positions”.

In 2015, the unprecedented initiative of OFF-Biennale Budapest helped create a long-term platform for communication, collaboration and project initiation in the field of contemporary art. It will be awarded a grant because it “proved the viability, energy and professionalism with which contemporary art professionals were able to formulate answers to national state politics that have proven unfavourable to international exchange and the criticality of contemporary culture.” (offbiennale.hu)

Award ceremony in Ljubljana will include book launch and conference in memory of Piotr Piotrowski

The winners will be presented at an award ceremony on 9 December 2016 in Ljubljana. That same afternoon, a comprehensive publication with texts by former winners and jury members of the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory will be launched. The day before, a conference in memory of the Polish art historian Piotr Piotrowski, winner of the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2010, will feature interesting international speakers. The award ceremony and programme on 9 December as well as the conference on 8 December will be held at Moderna galerija and will be organised in cooperation with Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.

8 December 2016, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana
International conference: What Art History? In memoriam Piotr Piotrowski
Participants: Edit András, Manuel Borja-Villel, Catherine David, Ekaterina Degot, Charles Esche, Okwui Enwezor, Beáta Hock, Tímea Junghaus, Magdalena Radomska, Peter Weibel, WHW

9 December 2016, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana
Book launch Extending the Dialogue
On the occasion of the fifth edition of the award, a comprehensive publication with texts by former winners and jury members will be launched.
Award Ceremony

Venue on both days: Moderna galerija, Cankarjeva 15, Ljubljana; www.mg-lj.si

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory

Endowed with a total prize money of EUR 76,000, the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory has been awarded every two years since 2008 and will thus be awarded for the fifth time in 2016. It was first awarded in 2008 to the Croatian curatorial collective What, How & for Whom (WHW). Piotr Piotrowski (1952 – 2015), art historian and former director of the National Museum in Warsaw, won the prize in 2010, and the Macedonian art historian Suzana Milevska was awarded the prize in 2012. In 2014, it was the Russian curator and writer Ekaterina Degot who received the award. It is an initiative of ERSTE Foundation and is offered in cooperation with the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory (Ljubljana). It honours exceptional cultural achievements and is awarded to art historians, curators and art theorists whose work helps to deepen and broaden the international exposure  and knowledge of visual art and culture in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The prize winners are selected by an international jury.

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