Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2020 / Conference and Ceremony

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2020
Conference and Ceremony

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2020
Conference and Ceremony
December 3–4, 2020

Join us on e-flux Video & Film for The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2020 ceremony and its accompanying international conference, taking place in Ljubljana on December 3–4, 2020, and livestreamed on e-flux on this page, and on Igor Zabel Award 2020 website.

The Entire World as Our World • International Conference 
December 3 and 4, 3–5pm CET (9–11am EST) / livestreamed from Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana

Igor Zabel 2020 Award Ceremony and Conversation with the Winners
December 4, 8pm CET (2pm EST) / livestreamed from Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana

The international conference reconsiders the universal during the era of global capitalism and pandemic, and aims to rethink our common future and the presence of art in the (entire) world that is (not yet) our world.
Speakers: T. J. Demos, Boris Groys, Ade Darmawan/ruangrupa, Apolonija Šušteršič, Alberto Toscano, and Alenka Zupančič. Moderated by Dražen Dragojević.


Thursday, December 3, 3–5pm CET (9-11am EST)

How does art today imagine universalism and represent all-encompassing forces such as the force of global capitalism?

3:00–3:15pm CET
by the organizers, Zdenka Badovinac, Moderna galerija and Urška Jurman, Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory

3:15–3:35pm CET
Alenka Zupančič: The Art of Surprise

Is art “of this world” or “not of this world”? The presentation will propose that art is at its strongest when it opens a perspective onto the world in an indirect way, from the new and surprising reality that art itself creates. 

3:35–3:55pm CET
Boris Groys: The Universal Subject of Care

In contemporary society, there exists a universal mode of work – it is the care work. The securing of human lives is regarded by our civilization as its supreme goal. However, our culture is also permanently producing extensions of our material bodies: books, photographs, documents, videos, websites, etc. that are kept for some time after our deaths. The universal subject is itself a subject of care.

3:55–4:15pm CET
Alberto Toscano: Quantities of the Past – Photography in the Aftermath of Capital  
The presentation will deal with the relation between photowork, landscape, and logistics, and will consider environmental devastation and its nexus with racial capitalism in light of arguments about “dead labour” presented by Fredric Jameson in his 2011 book Representing Capital

4:15–5:00pm CET

Friday, December 4, 3–5pm CET (9-11am EST)

On the relation between the particular, the concrete, and the universal in the field of contemporary art.

3:00–3:15pm CET
Introduction by the moderator Dražen Dragojević

3:15–3:35pm CET
Apolonija Šušteršič: Becoming Local
The presentation will focus on the contradiction between the particular and the universal based on Šušterčič’s position as an artist who works with local people and environments from a non-local perspective.

3:35–3:55pm CET
Ade Darmawan/ruangrupa

ruangrupa is a Jakarta-based collective that supports the idea of art within the urban context to provide critical observations and views on Indonesian urban contemporary issues. Currently, the collective is curating documenta 15 in Kassel.

3:55–4:15pm CET
T. J. Demos: Radical Futurisms – Worlds after the End of the World

The presentation will offer a work-in-progress overview of Demos’s current book project, which investigates radical visions of justice-to-come in contemporary art and visual culture – including examples drawn from Indigenous futurisms, Afrofuturisms, and multispecies and post-capitalist speculative imagination. 

4:15–5:00pm CET

More about the conference.

Conference concept: Zdenka Badovinac, Urška Jurman • Moderator: Dražen Dragojevič • Graphic design: Anja Delbello, Aljaž Vesel / AA • Production / Igor Zabel Association: Urška Jurman, Mateja Kurir, Urška Comino, Hana Cirman • Production / Moderna galerija: Adela Železnik, Tomaž Kučer • Streaming: Branko Lenarčič, Radio Študent Video Section • Technical team: Borut Cajnko, Borut Bučinel, Tomaž Hrovat, Miha Zupan


On Friday, December 4, 2020, at the biannual ceremony in Ljubljana, Zdenka Badovinac will be awarded for her outstanding institutional leadership as the director of the Moderna galerija/Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) in Ljubljana as well as for her radical curatorial work and significant contributions as a writer and editor to international discourses on the geopolitics of contemporary art in Eastern Europe and global art history. Igor Zabel Award Grants will be given to Slavcho Dimitrov (Skopje), activist, cultural theorist, and curator; Katalin Erdődi (Vienna/Budapest), curator, dramaturg, and cultural worker; and Ivana Bago (Zagreb), curator, art historian, and art writer.

The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory acknowledges the exceptional achievements of curators, art historians, theorists, art writers, and critics whose work supports, develops or investigates visual art and culture in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. 


Igor Zabel Award ceremony and conversation with the award and grant recipients,
moderated by Ksenija Horvat, distinguished television journalist and interview host.

Friday, December 4, 8:00–9:07pm CET (2:00-3:07pm EST)

8:00–8:05pm CET
Presentation of the award by the moderator

8:05–8:15pm CET
Presentation of the Igor Zabel Award 2020 laureate Zdenka Badovinac by Anthony Gardner, art historian and jury member

8:15–8:40pm CET
Video portrait and conversation with Zdenka Badovinac

8:40–9:00pm CET
Video portraits and conversations with the Igor Zabel Award 2020 Grant recipients: Ivana Bago, Katalin Erdődi, and Slavcho Dimitrov

9:00pm CET
Closing remarks by Boris Marte, ERSTE Foundation, and Urška Jurman, Igor Zabel Association

The Igor Zabel Award is named in honor of the distinguished and influential Slovenian curator and art historian Igor Zabel (1958–2005). It has been conferred biennially since 2008 by the ERSTE Foundation (Vienna) in cooperation with the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory (Ljubljana).

With total prize money of EUR 76,000, the Igor Zabel Award represents one of the most generous and prestigious awards for cultural activities related to Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.

2020 jury
Antony Gardner, art historian, Oxford • Šejla Kamerič, artist, Sarajevo • Franciska Zólyom, curator and director, GfZK Leipzig

2020 nominators
Pawel Althamer
, artist, Warsaw • Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, curator, writer, editor, Paris/Ljubljana • Vjera Borozan, art historian, curator, Prague • Mira Gakjina, curator, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje • Herwig Höller, art writer, Moscow/Graz • Eva Khachatryan, curator, Yerevan • József Mélyi, art historian, critic, Budapest • Deimantas Narkevičius, artist, Vilnius • Sven Spieker, editor, ARTMargins Raluca Voinea, curator, Bucharest

More about the award ceremony.

Visual concept of the space: Vadim Fiškin • Moderator: Ksenija Horvat • Direction: Tina Ščavničar • Graphic design: Anja Delbello, Aljaž Vesel / AA • Robot Attitude: Stefan Doepner • Igor Zabel Award jingle: Luka Prinčič/Nova deViator • Production / Igor Zabel Association: Urška Jurman, Mateja Kurir, Urška Comino, Hana Cirman • Production / Moderna galerija: Adela Železnik, Tomaž Kučer • Streaming: Branko Lenarčič, Radio Študent Video Section • Technical team: Borut Cajnko, Borut Bučinel, Tomaž Hrovat, Miha Zupan

The award ceremony and accompanying conference are organized by: Igor Zabel Association and Moderna galerija, Ljubljana with the support of ERSTE Foundation.

Contemporary Art, Capitalism
Worldbuilding, Post-capitalism

Zdenka Badovinac is a curator and writer. From 1993 to 2020, she was the Director of the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana (MG+MSUM). From 2022 to 2023 she was Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb (MSU). She currently works as an independent curator and author. Her most recent exhibition is Sanja Iveković, Works of Heart (1974-2022), Kunsthalle, Vienna, (2022) and MSU in Zagreb (2023). Her most recent books are Comradeship: Curating, Art, and Politics in Post-Socialist Europe (Independent Curators International, 2019) and Unannounced Voices: Curatorial Practice and Changing Institutions (Sternberg Press / Thoughts on Curating, 2022).

Boris Groys is a philosopher, essayist, art critic, media theorist, and an internationally renowned expert on Soviet-era art and literature, especially the Russian avant-garde.

T. J. Demos is an award-winning writer on contemporary art, global politics, and ecology. He is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at University of California, Santa Cruz, and founder and director of its Center for Creative Ecologies.

ruangrupa is a Jakarta-based collective established in 2000. It is a nonprofit organization that strives to support art within an urban cultural context by involving outside artists and other disciplines such as social science, politics, technology, and media, with the aim of developing critical views on contemporary urban issues in Indonesian. ruangrupa also produces collaborative works in the form of exhibitions, festivals, art labs, workshops, research, books, magazines, and journals.

Alberto Toscano teaches at the School of Communications, Simon Fraser University, and codirects the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Late Fascism (Verso, 2023), Terms of Disorder: Keywords for an Interregnum (Seagull, 2023), and Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (Verso, 2010; 2017, 2nd ed.), among other books. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and series editor of Seagull Essays and the Italian List for Seagull Books. He has also translated the work of Antonio Negri, Alain Badiou, Franco Fortini, and Furio Jesi.

Alenka Zupančič is a Slovene philosopher and social theorist, one of the prominent members of the “Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis.” She is Research Councilor at the Institute of Philosophy, Scientific Research Center of the Slovene Academy of Sciences, and a professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She is the author of numerous articles and many books, including Ethics of the Real: Kant and Lacan; The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Two; Why Psychoanalysis: Three Interventions; The Odd One In: On Comedy; What is Sex?; and Let Them Rot: Antigone’s Parallax.

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