PRESS RELEASE 2008-07-21

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory: ‘What, How & for Whom’ from Zagreb the first to be awarded € 40.000

The Croatian curatorial collective What, How & for Whom (WHW) is the first recipient of the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2008. Initiated and funded by ERSTE Foundation, the prize recognizes outstanding cultural activities related to the Central and South Eastern European region. The award will be granted for the first time in 2008. Besides the award, the German editor, writer and linguist Fouad Asfour, the Turkish writer Erden Kosova and the Serbian collective Prelom are awarded with a working grant for one year. The award ceremony, accompanied by the presentation of a new book addressing the work of Igor Zabel will be held in Ljubljana on Friday, 21 November 2008.

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory: ‘What, How & for Whom’ from Zagreb the first to be awarded € 40.000

 The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory acknowledges the work of a cultural protagonist whose work is dedicated to internationally broaden the knowledge of visual culture in the Central and South Eastern European region. The laureate is selected by an international renowned expert committee. The jury was appointed by ERSTE Foundation and in 2008 consists of the following members: Eda .ufer, publicist, curator and dramaturge, (Slovenia/USA), Josef Dabernig, artist (Austria), Charles Esche, curator and director of the Van-Abbe-Museum (Netherlands). Candidates for the award were international curators, theorists, writers, critics who are coming from or living and/or working in the region, whose work spans Central and South Eastern Europe respectively. In addition to the award of EUR 40.000 three working grants of EUR 12.000 each are awarded, two by the jury, one by the laureate.

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory – Winner 2008 (prize money EUR 40.000):

What, How & for Whom (WHW) (Ivet ;urlin, Ana Devi<, Nataša Ili< and Sabina Sabolovi<) is a Zagreb based curatorial collective founded in 1999. The group became quickly known internationally due to the success of their first projects: What, How and for Whom, on the occasion of the 153rd anniversary of the Communist Manifesto; Broadcasting, a project, dedicated to Nikola Tesla, and START dedicated to young artists from the region. WHW is currently curating the 11th Istanbul Biennial (2009). The award has been given to WHW because of their unique working practice as a curatorial collective that has been dedicated to exploring relevant contemporary artistic issues in relation to social issues concerning the world after 1989. The jury views their work as continuing the principles represented in the diverse yet precise practice of Igor Zabel.

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory – Grants 2008 (EUR 12.000 each):

Fouad Asfour is a linguist living and working in Vienna (Austria) and Johannesburg (South Africa) as a freelance writer and is member of the Johannesburg based artist collective "Dead Revolutionaries Club". Asfour’s specific experience has been gained through his engagements in art fields and areas of cultural theories. The jury recognizes his specific dialectical method which goes closer to the subject of the artist in synergy with critical political disposition as honourable in the memory of Igor Zabel.

Erden Kosova is a writer, publishing and editing in two Istanbul-based contemporary art magazines ‘art-ist’ and ‘Resmi Gorus’ and a member of a post-anarchist collective which runs the magazine project ‘Siyahi’. Kosova is also a PhD candidate in the theory of visual culture department at Goldsmiths College in London. He was awarded as a promising writer, who we anticipate will contribute much to defining the region in a way that does justice to Igor Zabel’s own understanding of this geography.

Prelom Kolektiv is a collective from Belgrade. The journal Prelom was established in 2001 as a project of the Belgrade Center for Contemporary Art, and from the very outset became a space for critical query of the political constellations between art, film and social theory in contemporary post-Yugoslav context. In the summer of 2004, the editorial board founded an independent organisation – Prelom Kolektiv, constituting itself as a publisher and laying the foundations for expanding activities – exhibitions, conferences, discussions, activist actions – beyond producing the Prelom journal.

The Igor Zabel Association of Culture and Theory

Igor Zabel (1958 – 2005) was a Slovenian curator, writer and cultural theorist, all his life engaged and 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 teacher of new generations of curators and critics of contemporary art. The Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory was founded in February 2008 by Mateja Kos Zabel, Bojan Zabel and ERSTE Foundation as a dedication to the curator’s and writer’s enormous contribution to a profound exploration of the political, social, and cultural undercurrents in these areas that could potentially ensure a better understanding of the post-communist condition in the global context today.The association’s objective is to promote Igor Zabel’s heritage and highlight the importance and ongoing influence of his work, to enhance the knowledge exchange and networking in contemporary visual arts and culture and to strengthen the cultural dialogue in the Central and South Eastern European region and beyond.


Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory

Jamnikarjeva 16, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia,