November 18, 2016 - Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum - Promotional Prize of the Province of Styria for Contemporary Fine Arts
November 18, 2016

Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum

Graphic: UMJ.

Promotional Prize of the Province of Styria for Contemporary Fine Arts
November 17, 2016–March 12, 2017

Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum
Joanneumsviertel
8010 Graz
Austria

T +43 316 80179100

www.neuegaleriegraz.at

Promotional Prize of the Province of Styria for Contemporary Fine Arts
November 17, 2016–March 12, 2017

Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum
Joanneumsviertel
8010 Graz
Austria

T +43 316 80179100

www.neuegaleriegraz.at

Working as the sole juror and at the same time curator of the exhibition of artists selected for the Prize of the Province of Styria for Contemporary Fine Arts has been a unique experience in my professional career. The challenge and responsibility of being "the judge and the jury" at the same time bears a burden, the need for a serious, in-depth approach to these artists with whose work I was not really acquainted. Thus my initial role was that of a curator who would, after reviewing all the proposals, aim both to present a variety of artistic positions and, if possible, discern some of the threads that would form the backbone of the show. Another goal was to avoid presenting a simple overview, in the tradition of the old Parisian salons.

This immediately opened up another delicate issue: how does one select artists who represent a certain region, and what does this mean in today’s globalised world? Would it be possible to identify locally specific codes? Is the idea of the genius loci still alive and current? Or are we living in the globalised age of cultural homogenisation, where just a touch of "local flavour" is needed for the artistic "product" to become internationally acceptable and included within the global art context? Big international exhibitions and biennials set the trends and tendencies that have seen many twists and turns over recent decades. The position of the artist as ethnographer (Hal Foster), the documentary turn, the revisiting of the ideas of Modernism or the position of the artist as a "journalist," researcher, or even social worker are just a few that should be mentioned. Furthermore, as the pivotal question one could ask if there are artists embedded in the local context as opposed to "biennial" artists? These questions must be posed and considered, although the answer cannot be given by this exhibition alone.    

Bearing in mind that all of the artistic positions mentioned are legitimate today, I saw my role as trying to offer conceptual clusters, types of artistic practices or media particularly referential within the materials at my disposal. There were several strong points that triggered my interest. For one, a number of time-based works, i.e. videos or experimental films showing high sophistication in their cinematographic language with complex sets of references or "narratologies." Another relevant aspect was the position of those artists who create their own universe or cosmogony, developing them in conjunction with a scientific approach, sometimes with a humorous touch. Last but not least, the third cluster comprises works realised in the media of objects, installations, mises-en-scène of a kind with well-conceived spatial and ambiental arrangements, often site- or context-specific.

Based on these three dominant clusters, which were of course not the only ones, I was able to imagine the future exhibition and decide on the awards where the chosen artists showed paradigmatic work in that field and the line of conceptualisation of their positions. In such a manner my attempt to combine the role of curator and jury member merged and intertwined, making difficult choices and decisions slightly easier.  

Curated by Zoran Erić, Coordination: Günther Holler-Schuster

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