Winners | Arte Laguna Prize



VENICE, 2 October 2021 – After the long stop due to the health emergency, Arte Laguna Prize opens the doors of the Venice Arsenale, giving start to the largest exhibition in the history of the Prize, a celebration of art and creativity that looks to the future and gives voice to a wide variety of visual languages.

During the awards ceremony that took place this evening, the three absolute winners of the 15th edition and the four winners of the 14th edition were announced, receiving a cash prize of 10,000 euros each. The artists come from Spain, Israel, China, Slovenia, Italy, Poland and United States.

The international jury decided to award the Spanish artist Belén Mazuecos (Spain, 1978) with the work Fragile artist: Handle with care II (2017). The work was chosen for its contemporary approach, that speaks to a lot of universal themes that are happening in the world and specifically in the world of artists; a project that the jury found very interesting for representing the difficulties of being an artist, especially in these times. The artwork serves as a pretext to build a metaphor for what happens in the art world, highlighting the complexities of an extremely fragile ecosystem.

The Israeli artist Moshe Vollach (Israel, 1958) with his land art project 31 cubes (2016) is awarded for his oxymoronic approach to land art, for the very poetic work he created, based on the idea of contrast and how natural elements can work together to transform the artwork: a row of 61 identical-size ice cubes placed in the desert on a hot summer day, documenting the defrosting process. The work refers to the relationship between matter and space, dealing with issues such as global warming, radical climate changes, icebergs defrosting and desertification.

The animated film Cloud of the Unknown (2019) by Chinese artist Gao Yuan (China, 1986) was highly appreciated by the jury for the artist’s ability to harness new technologies into an aesthetic and a style which have great beauty and invention. Through the animation of the frames hand-painted by the artist herself, she brings to life an existential work about the nature of being in the world.

The jury has chosen to give the prize to Frankenstein’s Bride (2013) by Slovenian designer Primoz Jeza (Slovenia, 1968). Frankenstein’s Bride is a modular versatile working space assembled out of several different colour elements, a contemporary table that can be adapted for every situation in real life.

The jury awards the young Italian performer Leonardo Sinopoli (Italy, 1998) with the work 331: Say their Names. A powerful performative statement that commemorates the violent death of the many members of the Transgeder community all over the world. Sinopoli writes letter by letter their names while also remembering those whose names remain unknown. He memorised the peoples names and the dates of their murder before the white canvas is turned into a memorial by a performative ritual. The work calls us to stand for the rights of transgender people.

For having been able to combine, in the work presented, ecological and environmental themes that are among the most urgent in our contemporaneity and a reflection on painting, the theme of variation and the possibilities provided by materials. The jury has chosen to award Drawings from a liquified forest by the Polish artist Witold Riedel (Poland, 1969).

The jury awards the American artist Samuelle Green (United States 1976) and her intallation Manifestation 7. The prize is awarded for the strength of a sculpture that always knows how to adapt to space. How an organism grows and develops by modeling itself and the place where it is inserted. Composed of a repetition of elements, it also regenerates the materials it is made of, giving them a new life.

During the evening were awarded also the 42 artists chosen by the international partners of Arte Laguna Prize for the special prizes (art residencies, gallery exhibitions, festivals, collaborations with companies).

The 240 finalist works of the 14th and 15th edition of Arte Laguna Prize will be on display at the Arsenale Nord in Venice until 21 November. The exhibition, curated by Igor Zanti and Matteo Galbiati, is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm reservation required.

Until October 12 it will also be possible to visit the collateral event Soul Energy, personal exhibition by the Vietnamese artist Henry Le, curated by Chiara Canali.

For the 14th editionIwona Blazwick – director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London; Karel Boonzaaijer – designer, architect and professor at the University of Applied Science in Aachen; Valentino Catricalà – contemporary art curator and art section director of the Maker Faire – The European Edition; Aldo Cibic – fundamental name of made in Italy design in the world; Erin Dziedzic – Chief Curator at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; Zhao Li – professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and curator of the Chinese Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale; Riccardo Passoni – director of GAM – the Modern Art Gallery in Turin; Vasili Tsereteli – Director of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

For the 15th edition: Bénédicte Alliot – General Director of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris; Nathalie Angles – Founder and executive director of Residency Unlimited in the United States; Lorenzo Balbi – Artistic director at MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna; Marcus Fairs – Founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen in the United Kingdom; Sophie Goltz – Curator, Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Director of the International Summer Academy in Salzburg; Toshiyuki Kita – Japanese Designer, honoured with the ADI Lifetime Achievement Award “Compasso d’Oro alla carriera internazionale”; Beate Reifenscheid – Director of Ludwig Museum Koblenz and President of ICOM Germany.

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