While the jury had been travelling by bus for the first round of the Essl Art Award journey, we had to take the plane for our last destinations in Bucharest and Sofia.
The Victoria Art Center in Bucharest was opened at the beginning of the year and we were very happy that the Essl Art Award is one of the first exhbitions shown there. The venue was surprisingly spacious and provided room for nearly all of the nominated works (which has proven difficult in other venues). The Essl Art Award Romania was given to Ana Dutia and Theodora Axente, while Larisa Sitar received a collector’s invitation.
Emotions were high in Sofia, where the Essl Art Award Bulgaria took place for the first time. The opening night was at the Academy and a lot of friends and family of the students were present, cheering them on. The jury had a difficult time deciding on the winners, but finally awarded the prize to Albena Stefanova Baeva and Elena Kaludova.
Winners of the Essl Art Award CEE – Romania
Ana Duția was born 1986 in Brasov, Romania and studies at the Universitatea Nationala de Arte din Bucuresti (UNAB).
Her artwork „16 January 2009 – 00:00 GMT “ (2010) consists of 77 photographs taken by 49 different people in 49 locations all over the globe. The short text descriptions below the photographs describe the moment in which the photographs were taken.
Text on work (Luci in Italia)
“On the mirror in via Battindarno 376, that reflected my image for five months, I’ve put three light bulbs in the colours of the Romanian flag, blue, yellow and red. The mirror has then been moved in seven locations inBologna, Italy, where Romanians lived or were present, including an orthodox church.”
Theodora Axente was born 1984 in Sibiu,Romania and studies at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca. She received the Vienna Insurance Group Special Invitation as well.
“Human emotional memory is the main idea of where I started. The past is an open diary of time and my character who is opening it try to explore and understand in a personal way. This character is an embodiment of the conscience of each of us who want to return time and give a whole new way of what has already happened. It is an embodiment of our desire, which may create another version of the past.”
Collector’s Invitation – Larisa Sitar
Larisa Sitar was born in Baia Mare, Romania and studies at the Universitatea Nationala de Arte din Bucuresti (UNAB). She received a collector’s invitation to show her work in the Essl Museum in December at the Essl Art Award CEE show.
Text on work (Untitled Tale/ Tale of the Stork)
“This is a video about growing up and living home. The story of the stork is told by my grandmother. She used to tell it to me when I was little. The video is filmed in my grandparents‘ house, in Copalnic village, where I grew up.
A series of 7 digital prints (20 x 25 cm) are part of the work. Some are spaces shown in the video, others are different spaces of the house […] The photographs are shot in […] my grandparents‘ house where I grew up and in the house they have built for me, hoping I will live there one day.”
Winners of the Essl Art Award – Bulgaria
Elena Kaludova (Елена Калудова)
Elena Kaludova was born 1982 in Burgas, Bulgaria and studies at the National Academy of Art, Sofia.
She presented two of her recent mixed media works in the exhibition. The installation „Dogs and Bones“ consists of 8 oil on canvas paintings and 1 single channel video. „The paint-chopping machine“ adds a meat grinder to 4 paintings and a video installation.
“I like the way oil paint mixes, the colours it has, the structure it makes and the feeling it gives me when I am using it. It’s dense, greasy and pliable. It has flesh. In my work I combine the art of oil painting with other media, such as video, installation and performance. It is a result of my conception that the combination of two (or more) media, very different at first sight, can make their existence absolutely impossible independently.”
Albena Stefanova Baeva (Албена Стефанова Баева)
Albena Stefanova Baeva was born 1983 in Sofia and studies at the National Academy of Art, Sofia. Baeva also received the Vienna Insurance Group Special Invitation.
“Currently I’m working on different interactive installations because I am positive that this is the most appropriate form for transporting complex ideas. Interactive installations are suit-able for communication with a contemporary, media-savvy audience.
The topic that I’m most concerned about in my works is the process of different individuals meeting. They may be separated through time – each living at their own speed –, through space or becoming separated in the course of their very individual stories.
The possibility of meeting stands often in the air, but success is uncertain and it must be strived for. I try to capture the moments before the actual meeting when the feeling of being an autonomous individual is most intense. I search for different technical means to heighten this individuality and to explore the possibilities to transcend it.”
Next to her interactive installation „Fall Control“ she also presented her work „Universal Meeting“. The artwork focuses on traditional meeting places in the city centre of Sofia, which are typical places for evening dates – at Roboart fest, in a bar and at a bookstore. About the exhibition: Essl Art Award CEE