Very soon, on 17 February, we will find out the winner of the 2017 Purvītis Prize – the largest monetary award in the visual arts in both Latvia and the Baltic region as a whole. Established in 2008, the Prize has since become the benchmark from which to assess the state of affairs of the visual arts in Latvia. The Purvītis Prize is awarded once every two years to an artist or artist group that represents Latvia with excellent work – creations that are deeply linked to the current zeitgeist and which have a direct connection with spiritual ideals, absolute values, and our lives at that moment. The artist who receives the highest score – as evaluated by a joint group of experts and an international panel of judges – is deemed the winner, and receives an award in the amount of 28 500 EUR.
In December of last year, a working group of independent experts selected eight artists who, in their judgment, had produced the best work. After reviewing the art events of 2015 and 2016, including more than 150 exhibitions, the following artists were nominated for the 2017 Purvītis Prize: Arturs Bērziņš, Ivars Drulle, Kristaps Epners, Atis Jākobsons, Voldemārs Johansons, Maija Kurševa, Anda Lāce, and Krišs Salmanis together with Anna Salmane and Kristaps Pētersons.
The members of the international panel of judges who will decide the 2017 Prize winner are: Māra Lāce, Director of the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA); Jānis Zuzāns, Chairman of the Board of “Alfor” Ltd., the main financial supporter of the LNMA; Thaddaeuss Ropac, the renown Austrian gallerist and art collector (Galerie Thaddaeuss Ropac, Paris/Salzburg/London); Juliet Bingham (UK), Tate Modern museum curator; and Hedwig Fijen (Netherlands), founding director of the Manifesta biennial and the International Foundation Manifesta; Rebecca Russo (Italy), art collector and creator of the Videoinsight® method of psychotherapy; and Mark Allen Svede (USA), art historian and professor at Ohio University.
After the announcement of the winner of the 2017 Purvītis Prize on 17 February, a group exhibition featuring the works of all of this year’s finalists will be on view in the Great Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art, through 9 April.
As we await this great event, Arterritory.com invites you to find out more about each of the nominees – their thoughts and the journeys that they take as they work on their creations.
Arturs Bērziņš is nominated for his solo shows: “Attēldarbi” (“Works of Images”), at the gallery “Māksla XO”, and „Attēldarbi II“, at theOlaine History and Art Museum;
Ivars Drulle – for his solo show “Manai dzimtenei” (“For My Homeland”), at the gallery “Alma”;
Kristaps Epners– for his solo show “Vingrinājumi” (“Exercises”), at the floating art gallery “Noass”;
Atis Jākobsons – for his solo show“Dark Matter”, held at the Mūkusalas Māsklas salons / Mūkusala Art Salon;
Krišs Salmanis, Anna Salmane and Kristaps Pētersons – for the show “Dziesma” (“Song”) at the Creative Workshop of the LNMA’s “Arsenāls” exhibition space.
The following artists have been nominated for individual works: Voldemārs Johansons for the video installation “Slāpes” (“Thirst”), as part of the international New Theater Festival “Homo Novus”; Maija Kurševa for the work “Dzīvesprieks” (“The Joy of Living”), in the exhibition “Lielāks miers, mazāks miers” (“Greater Peace, Lesser Peace”); and Anda Lāce for the performance “Atindēšana” (“Detoxification”), as part of the exhibition „Miervaldis Polis. Ilūzija kā īstenība“.