The UK’s leading art prize, Artes Mundi, has announced the five shortlisted artists for its eighth edition.
Works by the shortlisted contemporary artists – some of the world’s most relevant and important – are on view at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff until 24 February 2019.
Artes Mundi has announced the shortlist for the prize’s eighth edition, which consists of some of the world’s leading contemporary artists: Anna Boghiguian (Canada/Egypt), Bouchra Khalili (Morocco/France), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria), Trevor Paglen (USA) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand).
Artes Mundi is an international arts organisation based in Cardiff, UK. Established in 2002, it is committed to supporting ground breaking, international, contemporary visual artists whose work engages with social reality and lived experience. The Artes Mundi exhibition and prize take place biennially, running a sustained programme of outreach and learning projects alongside the public exhibition and prize giving.
The Artes Mundi prize is the UK’s biggest, with a globally significant prize fund of GBP40,000. The shortlist was selected from over 450 nominations spanning 86 countries, and includes the works of celebrated contemporary artists who explore what it means to be human. The Artes Mundi 8 selectors were Nick Aikens, a curator at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands; Daniela Pérez, an independent curator based in Mexico City; and Alia Swastika, a Jakarta-based curator and writer. The selecting panel looked for artists who directly engage with everyday life through their practice and explore contemporary social issued across the globe.
In 2017 the Artes Mundi 7 Prize was awarded to John Akomfrah. Previous winners are: Theaster Gates (2015), Teresa Margolles (2013), Yael Bartana (2010), N S Harsha (2008), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (2006) and Xu Bing (2004).
The 2018 winner will be announced at an award ceremony in Cardiff on 24 January 2019. The international panel of judges for Artes Mundi 8 is chaired by Oliver Basciano, Editor (International) at ArtReview and ArtReview Asia, and further includes Katoaka Mami, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Laura Raicovich, an independent curator based in New York City; and Anthony Shapland, Creative Director of g39, Cardiff.
This year, the prize celebrates the work of international artists exploring the biggest issues facing our world, from near constant surveillance and entrenched racism, to industrial exploitation on a global scale and state control of individual freedoms.
As Karen Mackinnon, Artes Mundis’ Director and Curator, comments,
Artes Mundi 8 brings together the work of five outstanding international artists. Through their work they examine urgent topical issues such as globalisation, colonialism, environmental concern, resistance, statehood and individual autonomy. Through a wide range of practices that vary from the poetic to the rhetorical, these artists all engage poignantly with what it means to be human in an increasingly tumultuous world. In works that explore the global steel trade from Port Talbot, Wales to Jamshedpur, India, the French poet Jean Genet’s work with the Black Panther movement, state surveillance, autonomy and our relationship with the earth and its resources, there is humour, surrealism and provocation. But what connects the work in this diverse exhibition is its relevance and urgency, as the artists comment on and question the spirit of the age.
Art Radar has a look at the five shortlisted artists for Artes Mundi 8.
Anna Boghiguian was born in 1946. As an Armenian in Cairo, she never adopted the city as her only home, continuing to have a conflicting relationship with it today. Living a nomadic life, the artist has constantly moved from city to city across the globe, from Egypt to Canada, and India to France. Her work offers a unique third person yet omniscient view of modern urban communities. Anna Boghiguian’s works are dense compositions, often with text, images, collected photographs and other documentary material closely interwoven. The intense colours and her spontaneous and expressive drawings are reminiscent of diary entries, which seem to visualise and record momentary experience and perception in its various facets.
In Wales, Boghiguian takes over the first gallery with a new monumental installation concerning the steel industry, moving past the faceless global industry and into the communities whose lives encompass it, including the nearby town of Port Talbot.
Bouchra Khalili is a Moroccan-French artist. Born in Casablanca, Morocco, she later studied Film at Sorbonne Nouvelle and Visual Arts at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy. She now lives and works in Berlin and Oslo. Encompassing film, video, installation, photography and prints, Khaliliʼs practice articulates language, subjectivity, orality and geographical explorations. Framed around a notion of “radical equality”, each of her projects investigates strategies and discourses of resistance as elaborated, developed and narrated by individuals, often members of political minorities. Khaliliʼs work has been included in major international exhibitions, such as documenta 14 (2017), and also in her solo shows “Blackboard”, at Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2018; “The Mapping Journey Project”, MoMA, New York (2016); and “Foreign Office”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015).
Khalili examines revolutionary histories and uses her work to give a platform to marginalised communities. A UK premiere for Artes Mundi 8, her new work Twenty-Two Hours (2018) follows two young African-American women who investigate how, in the 1970s, the celebrated French writer Jean Genet was called to action by the civil rights activist group, the Black Panther Party, and travelled secretly to the United States to support their struggle for racial equality.
Otobong Nkanga is a visual artist who began her art studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and continued at the École Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Nkanga’s drawings, installations, photographs and sculptures examine ideas around land and the value connected to natural resources. Her works, activities and performances permeate all kinds of media and motivate photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video, though all the different works are thematically connected through architecture and landscape. As a human trace that testifies of ways of living and environmental issues, in her practice, architecture and landscape act as a sounding board for narration and for ‘the performative’.
For Artes Mundi 8, Nkanga has produced an interactive, site-specific installation that links what are considered everyday luxuries in the west, with the core elements and minerals that they are composed from. Nkanga’s installation is mirrored by a seven-metre-long tapestry, which literally weaves together contemporary materialism with industrial exploitation and the detrimental environmental impact of mass industry on African communities.
Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering and numerous other disciplines. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures. Paglen has had solo exhibitions at Vienna Secession, Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Van Abbemuseum, Frankfurter Kunstverein and Protocinema Istanbul, and participated in group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern, among many others. He is the author of five books and numerous articles on subjects including experimental geography, state secrecy, military symbology, photography and visuality.
Exploring the theme of the human condition, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient presents his work in photography that interrogates the secrecy and ubiquity of US surveillance. In his series The Other Night Sky (2007 – ongoing), Paglen has spent the last eleven years working with a network of amateur astronomers to track the more than 200 classified military satellites that orbit the earth. Paglen is also exhibiting works from his series Limit Telephotography (2005 – ongoing), documenting secret US government bases and operations, often from extreme distances.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand. He began making films and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressing personal politics and social issues. Working independently from the Thai commercial film industry, he is active in promoting experimental and independent filmmaking through his company Kick the Machine. His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture.
A Cannes Palme d’Or winning filmmaker, Weerasethakul is exhibiting the UK premiere of his film Invisibility (2016). The film, shown across two screens, at once appears dreamlike and meditative, but reveals the ghosts of Thailand’s political past, and the dark underside of political corruption that continues in the country today.
“Artes Mundi 8” is on view from 26 October 2018 to 24 February 2019 at National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP, United Kingdom.