Ariane de Rothschild

José Luís Vasconcelos e Sousa
(Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild Europe Sucursal Portuguesa)

Lilian Tone
(Moma, Nova Iorque)

Pedro Cabrita Reis

Richard Julin
(Magasin3, Estocolmo)

Awarding a prize on the basis of a single work of art – without knowledge of the work that preceded it, or that will succeed it, or, for that matter, of the person behind the work – involves a greater measure of speculation and, in particular, projection than may be evident. As widespread as it is imperfect, this process offers an efficient structure that allows a greater number of artists to participate. More importantly, it does so without compromising the absolutely crucial need to see artworks in person, a rare event these days, in which our access to works of art increasingly takes place through a world of reproductions – in books, posters, postcards, slides, jpegs, and other electronic media – radically transforming the experience of art.

To this art-historically minded juror, trained to foreground context and keep the idea of "quality" in constant relativity, this process represents a challenge met with both trepidation and exhilaration, something of the order of a blind date. During the jurying process, we reviewed paintings, photographs, sculptures, and videos of around 300 artists. Although the works submitted were mostly paintings, they nevertheless covered a wide range of both procedural and aesthetic concerns. Despite their differences in background, practices and interests, as well as subject matter, media and styles, the selected artists are all striving to create works that are rewarding to look at. Inhabiting the shifting territory between abstraction and representation, the works selected speak to the ongoing tension between high and low culture, with abundant references to the body, pop culture, mass media and language.

I once heard from an artist that the meaning of an artwork was the sum of all meanings given to it by the sum of its viewers. If this prize and exhibition succeed in bringing to new audiences works of art that would otherwise have remained confined to a studio, allowing a greater plurality of meanings to come to the fore, then I think we have achieved our goal.

Lilian Tone

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