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Essl Art Award Prize Winners Open Exhibition in Vienna
Michele Bressan - 1st PRIZE, "Romania, WHERE I BELONG", 2008. From a series of 9, photographs (6 color, 3 b&w) each 34 x 50 cm. Courtesy: The artist.

VIENNA.- For the third occasion the ESSL ART AWARD CEE prize winners will be presented in a group exhibition at the Essl Museum, opening in December 2009. The ESSL ART AWARD CEE was founded in 2005 by the collector couple Agnes and Karlheinz Essl with a view to supporting young artists in the countries where bauMax has a business presence. Since then, the prize has been awarded every second year. Among the prize winners in previous years were artists such as Kateřina Šedá (documenta 12, Manifesta 2008) and Jakub Nepraš, who have by now achieved international acclaim.

In 2009, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia have, for the first time, been joined by Romania. Students at all the art academies in these countries entered their works via the Internet. Ten applicants each were selected by an international jury. In May this year, the works of these nominees were presented in the six capital cities and the jury awarded three prizes per country. The First Prize of the ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2009 is endowed with EUR 4,000, the Second Prize with EUR 3,000. The “VIENNA INSURANCE GROUP SPECIAL INVITATION” is endowed with EUR 1,000.

Additionally, the collector couple extended four “Personal Invitations“ to the exhibition at the Essl Museum.

The works of the 18 prize winners from six countries will be on display at the exhibition. Some of the works entered were specially created for the Award. All the artistic media are represented: video, photography and new media taking pride of place alongside painting. The young artists have opted for a wide range of themes, though there are no discernible signs of international trends such as New Figuration. It seems all the more intriguing to find out whether the cultural identities of the artists’ home countries or of this particular generation are visibly at work.

2009 is the first year in which VIENNA INSURANCE GROUP has decided to endow its own talent-award. The VIG Special Invitation is extended to one artist in every participating country, within the framework of the ESSL ART AWARD CEE. After the exhibition at the Essl Museum, the VIG invitees will enjoy a separate exhibition at the Vienna Insurance Group headquarters in Vienna. The exhibition with multi-media elements will be presented, with free admission, from 10 February until 5 March 2010.

Prize winners of the ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2009:
1st PRIZE: Michele Bressan (Romania), Lenka Cisárová (Slovakia), Diána Keller (Hungary), Tihana Mandušić (Croatia), Jan Pfeiffer (Czech Republic), Matej Sitar (Slovenia)

2nd PRIZE: Matija Brumen (Slovenia), Violeta IoniŃă (Romania), Ivana Jurić (Croatia ), Petra Malá (Czech Republic ), Zoltŕn Pintčr (Hungary), Jozef Poník (Slovakia)

Vienna Insurance Group SPECIAL INVITATION: Viola Fátyol (Hungary), Anna Hulačová (Czech Republic), Livio Rajh (Croatia), Lucia Stráňaiová (Slovakia), Maruša Šuštar (Slovenia), Cristina Vladu (Romania)

PERSONAL INVITATIONS: Dávid Adamkó (Hungary), Maxim Liulca (Romania), Katarína Poliačiková (Slovakia), Uroš Potočnik (Slovenia)

Essl Museum | Agnes and Karlheinz Essl | Jakub Nepra |

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