Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2016 goes to Viktor Misiano
The Russian curator and author Viktor Misiano, now living in Moscow and Cisternino (Italy), was honoured for his outstanding curatorial achievements, writings and editorial work. On 9 December 2016 at a ceremony in Ljubljana, Misiano was awarded for his work as one of the most important art professionals and cultural agents in Eastern Europe during the last thirty years. Grants were given to Viviana Checchia, Anca Verona Mihuleţ and OFF-Biennale Budapest.
For the fifth time, the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory honoured 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. Viktor Misiano was 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 acknowledged 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 emphasised 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 awarded two grants, one grant was given by the award winner
This year, the jury of the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory consisted of Zdenka Badovinac, director of the Moderna galerija 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 presented 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. Following the tradition, the third grant (also worth EUR 12,000) was awarded by the laureate. Viktor Misiano awarded it to the curator Viviana Checchia from Italy.
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 was 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.”
The winners were 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 was 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, featured interesting international speakers. The award ceremony and programme on 9 December as well as the conference on 8 December were held at and organised in cooperation with the Moderna galerija Ljubljana.
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 was thus 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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