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Eight Artists on Shortlist for UK's Biggest Contemporary Art Prize
Chen Chieh-jen, Bade Area, 2005. 30 minutes, Super 16mm transferred to DVD, color, silent, Single-channel, continuous loop © Courtesy of the Artist.

LONDON.- The eight artists from around the world who have been shortlisted for Artes Mundi 4 were announced today.

Viktor Misiano, one of the two selectors for the next Artes Mundi Prize, revealed the names on the Shortlist, as follows:

Yael Bartana (Israel), Fernando Bryce (Peru), Ergin Çavuşoğlu (Bulgaria), Chen Chieh-jen (Taiwan), Olga Chernysheva (Russia), Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev (Kyrgyzstan) and Adrian Paci (Albania).

The intensive selection process involved Artes Mundi in receiving over 480 international nominations from more than 80 countries. The Shortlist was chosen by two specially appointed selectors: independent curator and art critic Viktor Misiano, formerly Curator at The Pushkin State Museum and Director of the Contemporary Art Center (CAC) in Moscow, and Levent Çalikoğlu, Chief Curator at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art.

The diversity of nationalities and artistic media on the list reveals the scope of the Artes Mundi Prize, which seeks out outstanding artists from around the world who stimulate our thinking on the human condition and humanity.

Artes Mundi was established in 2003 and works in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. One of the largest art prizes in the world, it is a biennial contemporary visual arts initiative that gives greater visibility to artists and recognises them on a truly international platform.

Tessa Jackson, founding Artistic Director of Artes Mundi said: “The purpose of this Prize is not only to recognise deserving talent, but also to introduce a wider range of artists to the British art scene, extending their reach and broadening our horizons. The strength of the work, in relation to its content and the referencing of cultures unfamiliar to many of us, provides an extraordinary opportunity to explore the world’s art and artists.”

The Shortlisted artists will each show a body of work in a major exhibition at National Museum Cardiff from 11 March – 6 June 2010. A separate, independent panel of five judges will award the Prize to one of the artists in May 2010. Their decision will be based upon work of the last five to eight years.

Founder of the Prize William Wilkins said: “With this Prize I wanted to bring the world to Wales and Wales to the world. The sourcing of fascinating artists from around the globe and the involvement of key international sponsors is a mark of how seriously this project is taken.”

It is a mark of the Prize’s impact that, as a result of his exposure through Artes Mundi 3, NS Harsha, has been taken on by the Victoria Miro Gallery. His work is showing simultaneously at Rivington Place curated by Iniva and at Victoria Miro through October / November 09.

Yael Bartana creates complex visualizations with photography, film, video, sound and installation. Using documentation and re-enactments she moves between playfulness and seriousness. Born in Israel and now dividing her time between her homeland and Amsterdam, she often focuses upon Israel and the Israeli situation. She explores the details of everyday living and its rituals while relating them to the actions of the state and the constant presence of war and insecurity. Her works are visually and intellectually intriguing and centre upon human relationships as much as politics.

Fernando Bryce stopped painting over ten years ago to work primarily in Indian ink. He is interested in examining how visual and written media create and convey a perception of a country, a people, or an historical event. He adopts a drawing style that is reminiscent of mid 20th century comic strips and re-presents printed material he finds, from political propaganda to promotional literature. Through this process of copying, he highlights the ways in which facts are constructed, culture is described and history is reported. Through his reproductions he questions the credibility of the printed page. Born in Peru he now divides his time between Lima and Berlin.

Ergin Çavuşoğlu’s film and video installations are meditations on the ever shifting aspects of today’s globalised society. Travel, migration, mobility, together with old and new orders or notions of east and west – are explored, hinting at how we are all caught up in the bigger issues of today. ‘The contradictions, losses and latent tensions of globalization and migration are the thematic current of Çavuşoğlu’s work.’ (Michael Hübl) Raised in Bulgaria as part of a Turkish minority and now based in London, he draws on his own experiences and intends his work to be ‘poetic representations, exposing the boundaries of urban life that lie between the private and public domains.’ He is also interested to ask questions ‘about the artistic image and its capacity to observe socio-cultural landscapes and human geographies.'

Olga Chernysheva uses a range of media to produce artworks that explore contemporary Russia. Based in Moscow her subjects are often observed negotiating a society in turbulence, where the sense of a shared future has disappeared. Her films, photographs, drawings and object-based works go beyond any appearance of the documentary and become lyrical images of individuals trying to make sense of their lives at a time when society is in obvious flux. Ordinary experiences become extraordinary and the viewer becomes aware of him or herself observing, critiquing others and their lives. She focuses on figures, on individuals offering a penetrating, psychological atmosphere.

Chen Chieh-jen works with photography, film, installation and performance to explore issues connected to globalisation, in particular labour, consumerism and migration. He makes work as an act of resistance... ‘as an act of connection, linking together the history of people who have been excluded from the dominant discourse, the real-life situations of areas that are being ignored, and ‘others’ who are being isolated. In this way, I resist the state of amnesia in consumer society.’ Based in Taiwan he is also interested in his country’s particular position, seen by many as an independent country, but by China as one of its states. The precision and elegance of his work belies the corruption and unfair nature of life.

Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev live and work together in Bishek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, a country which has been at the centre of change and protest since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As a result their work offers a complex insight into modern Russia and Central Asia. Through video and photographic installations they explore how the fall of communism has affected the lives of thousands of Kyrgyz people. In one five channel installation they examine how economic and political unrest has changed the value of goods on the Great Silk Road, causing many to flee the country.

Adrian Paci re-creates personal experiences using the techniques of traditional storytelling.. He reflects upon his own unsettled history as a displaced person, a situation which many are now forced to experience. As an Albanian he fled the Kosovo War and escaped to Italy with his family in 1997, where he continues to live. He addresses Albania's painful politics and the realities of migration in film, photography and painting. In his early work he re-created very personal experiences within his family circle, with his more recent work he draws upon the universal. In doing so he does not hesitate to mix imagination and reality, combining humour, pathos and a sensitivity to subject matter.

Artes Mundi Prize | Viktor Misiano | Shortlist |

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