Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory

One of the highest and most prestigious cultural awards

1. January 2018

The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory acknowledges exceptional cultural achievements and is awarded to cultural protagonists whose work helps deepen and broaden the international exposure of visual art and culture in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

Candidates for the award are international curators, art historians and theorists, writers and critics who come from or live and/or work in the region and whose work spans Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Endowed with a total prize money of € 76,000, it is one of the highest and most prestigious cultural prizes of the region.

Named in honour of the outstanding Slovenian curator and art historian Igor Zabel (1958-2005), the award is an initiative of ERSTE Foundation and is awarded every two years in cooperation with the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory. The association was founded by Igor Zabel’s wife Mateja Kos Zabel, his father Bojan Zabel and ERSTE Foundation in February 2008 in his home town Ljubljana. The association’s objective is to highlight the importance and ongoing influence of Zabel’s work in order to promote knowledge-sharing and networking in contemporary visual arts and culture.

You cannot apply for the award. The laureate is selected by an international jury, which is appointed by ERSTE Foundation and the Igor Zabel Association. It consists of three members: an artist, a curator and a theorist, with one of the members being from Slovenia. The winner receives EUR 40,000. In addition, three grants of EUR 12,000 each are awarded, two by the jury, one by the laureate.

Winners, Jury and Members of Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and ERSTE Foundation
Winner Viktor Misiano, grantees, jury members and members of the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and ERSTE Foundation at the award ceremony in Ljubljana 2016. Photo: © Nada Žgank

Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory

Programme director: Urška Jurman

Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1 (room 618), 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia



Igor Zabel

Igor Zabel (1958 – 2005) was a Slovenian curator, writer and cultural theorist, who throughout his life was actively involved in many fields of theory and culture – as a philosopher, author, essayist, modern and contemporary art curator, literary and art critic, translator and mentor to a new generation of curators and critics of contemporary art.

Winner: What, How & for Whom (WHW)
Grants: Fouad Asfour, Erden Kosova, Prelom Kolektiv
Jury: Eda Čufer, Josef Dabernig, Charles Esche

Winner: Piotr Piotrowski
Grants: Maja & Reuben Fowkes, The Peace Institute – Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies, Ljubljana, Raluca Voinea, Daniel Grúň
Jury: Edit András, Chus Martínez, Tadej Pogačar

Winner: Suzana Milevska
Grants: Sabine Hänsgen, Klara Kemp-Welch, European Roma Cultural Foundation
Jury: Alenka Gregorič, Yuri Leiderman, Hanna Wróblewska

Winner: Ekaterina Degot
Grants: Karel Císař, Miklavž Komelj, Kirill Medwedew
Jury: Keti Chukhrov, Apolonija Šušteršič, Rainer Fuchs

Winner: Viktor Misiano
Grants: Viviana Checchia, Anca Verona Mihuleţ, OFF-Biennale Budapest
Jury: Zdenka Badovinac, Vít Havránek, Roman Ondák

Winner: Joanna Mytkowska
Grants: Edith Jeřábková, Oberliht Association, The Visual Culture Research Center
Jury: Adam Budak, Ana Janevski, Erzen Shkololli