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Line up for UK's biggest contemporary art prize announced

Artists from Cuba, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK on shortlist for Artes Mundi 5

From the flamboyant to the intimate, action and performance are the common threads that link the artists shortlisted for this year’s £40,000 Artes Mundi Prize. From Phil Collins offering reality TV contestants a platform to critique their manipulation by the media, to the meticulous understatement through which Teresa Margolles addresses drug violence in Mexico, the seven artists use a wide range of materials, actions, and strategies to engage with social issues and comment on society.

The shortlist for the fifth Artes Mundi Prize was announced today (26 January 2012) by Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director following an extensive research process by the two selectors - Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Curator of Contemporary Art at Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York and curatorial agent for dOCUMENTA (13), and Anders Kreuger, Curator at M HKA in Antwerp, Belgium. The selectors chose from over 750 nominations, including 576 individual artists from more than 90 countries, identifying artists whose work explores and comments on lived experience.

The seven artists picked for this year’s Artes Mundi, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch as part of its Arts and Culture Programme, and publicly funded by the Arts Council of Wales and Cardiff Council are:

Miriam Bäckström (Sweden), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Phil Collins (England), Sheela Gowda (India), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Darius Mikšys (Lithuania) and Apolonija Šušterši? (Slovenia).

Some of the artists look at specific cultural or historical contexts while others engage with broader themes of human experience. The range of nationalities, themes and artistic media demonstrates the scope of the Artes Mundi Prize, which will be underlined in a major exhibition of works by the shortlisted artists at Wales’s new National Museum of Art from 6 October 2012. The 14-week exhibition will be installed in almost 800 square metres of new contemporary art galleries, reinforcing Artes Mundi’s longstanding partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

An international judging panel will award the £40,000 prize midway through the exhibition in November 2012. All other shortlisted artists will receive a new award of £4,000 each. A new partnership with Mostyn, the contemporary gallery in North Wales, will also see one of the shortlisted artists present a solo show there in the 2013.

Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director who joined the team from Tate Modern in 2010 said:

“We are delighted with the exceptional quality of this shortlist which was drawn from a very strong field of nominations. I look forward to welcoming the artists to Wales and creating an exhibition in October that will give audiences the opportunity to engage with the most exciting international contemporary art.”

Anders Kreuger, one of the selectors, added:

"Shortlisting for Artes Mundi has been an honour - and a responsibility to be taken seriously. Almost 600 artists were nominated this year, and it was a huge challenge to whittle these highly accomplished individuals down to just seven. We have chosen seven very different but equally talented artists, of different generations and from all across the globe, to exhibit at National Museum of Art this autumn."

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the principal sponsor of the Artes Mundi 5 Exhibition and Prize this year. The company invests in nearly 5,000 arts organisations worldwide supporting all art forms with an emphasis on fostering greater cultural understanding.

Andrea Sullivan, head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Europe and the emerging markets (ex-Asia) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch commented:
“We wish to congratulate Artes Mundi for attracting a significant number of high calibre artists and for facilitating this exhibition against the backdrop of a tough economic year. Our involvement reflects the company’s commitment to supporting global arts and culture in the belief that the health of this sector boosts economies and helps societies to thrive.”


For further information and images, please contact:

Lleucu Cooke, Communications Officer, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
029 2057 3175

Lleucu Cooke, Swyddog Cyfathrebu, Amgueddfa Cymru
029 2057 3175

Date: 26 January 2012
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