Live Webcast Launches Future Generation Art Prize 2012

Damien Hirst

The Future Generation Art Prize 2012 has just been launched via an international online press conference that brought together the organisers, last year’s winner, and mentors Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Armstrong, Sir Nicholas Serota, from 4 different continents. The international prize worth £100,000 is open to any artist under the age of 35, and is receiving applications over next three months. A distinguished jury will create a shortlist of artists, all of whom will take part in an exhibition in Kiev.

Victor Pinchok, chairman of the board of the Future Generation Art Prize, expressed that this prize was an effort was ‘to inspire the future’, being ‘the equivalent of an incubator or accelerator for a start-up business’. It is an opportunity for a young artist to get ‘access to advice and resources for a chance to present themselves to the world’.

It is an effort to express ‘the importance of artists and especially of young artists’: ‘Today more than ever we need new understandings and new visions, to inspire not only political revolutions, but also revolutions of the mind’.

Eckhard Sneider, General Director of PinchukArtCentre, told of how the prize received more than 6000 applications from more than 130 countries last year. Today, the launch of the 2nd edition of prize shows ‘a long term commitment to emerging artists’.

Cinthia Marcelle, winner of the 2011 prize, said that ‘Its great to be the winner, but at the same time its a great responsibility’: ‘The most important thing is that now I need to balance the time of the demands with the real time of my work. I am doing well – well, I hope so!’ In particular, the money has enabled her to put together a studio of assistants working with her to create her work.

Richard Armstrong, the Director of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundations, applauded the prize as ‘generous and egalitarian’, adding that ‘compared to other opportunities available to young artists around the world, it has no peer’; ‘Anyone with access to a computer can put their work on view and be considered’.

Artist Jeff Koons believes that the prize ‘is about connecting’: ‘I think it’s really important to try to help other artists know what direction is possible for them, and which vehicles could be an appropriate way for them to connect’. He further sees it as a chance for young artists to ‘be competitive with themselves … and to have some sense that society is appreciative of their efforts’.

Damien Hirst, winner of the Turner Prize in 1995, explained his mother ‘definitely took me more seriously as an artist’ afterwards. He explained that it definitely helped his career, since ‘A lot of people took me more seriously’: ‘and don’t underestimate the power of the cash prize’ – a spur to be more ambitious and the key to helping them grow as artists. But also warned that artists ‘have to be careful that you measure your own successes in your own terms’.

Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate, and the man largely responsible for the success of the Turner Prize, explained the value of prizes for creating new awareness of Contemporary Art: ‘Creating a prize gives you the opportunity to have a debate – not between the artists but about the art’.

Victor Pinchuk rounded off proceedings with a few words asking ‘what can contemporary art can do for Ukraine and Kiev’, and his belief that Contemporary art ‘is one of the most revolutionary forces in the world’.

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