Ance Eikena receives the Purvītis Prize 2023


A seven-member international jury of art experts has awarded this year’s Purvītis Prize for outstanding artistic achievement to Latvian artist Ance Eikena (b. 1997). The prestigious 28,500-euro prize (before taxes) is the most substantial in the Baltic region and is awarded biennially.

The artist was one of six finalists, and received the prize for her solo exhibition Our Heavenly Father at the Brīvība Art Space in Riga (10.12.2021–08.01.2022).

The award was ceremoniously presented this evening to Ms. Eikena at the yard of the Art Academy of Latvia by Māra Lāce, the museum’s director and head of the jury, along with fellow jury members Jānis Zuzāns, the patron of the Purvītis Prize and longstanding benefactor of the LNMA, and Krist Gruijthuijsen, curator and art critic, Director of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin).

The four other jury members who chose Ms. Eikena as this year’s Purvītis Prize recipient are Udo Kittelmann, art theorist and curator, Director of the Berlin Nationalgalerie group of museums between 2008 and 2020; Ivana Goossen, Director of Kunsthalle Praha; Christian Nagel, gallerist, co-owner of Galerie Nagel Draxler; Laura Rutkutė, Art Director of the Vartai Gallery.

‘The work of the jury was really challenging. It was really interesting to see the works of all participants including the winner of the prize. What I like personally about her work is that it is less about the aesthetics of an artwork, but much more related to humanism. It is originating from the art world, but it is present in many humans. That is so touching. You do not have to understand the work. It speaks for itself. It is very powerful and triggers emotions. It is very much about human body and thinking experience. It proves that we have to trust artists more. In a way, it is a lesson about her peace and her space. It is about whom you can trust these days. You can always trust artists. This work is very much about truth. Truth about our life and our time,’ on behalf of the jury said Udo Kittelmann.

The jury members reached their decison to award the prize to Ms. Eikena at a closed session, during which they also evaluated recent artworks by five other finalists: Evelīna Deičmane, Kristaps Epners, Daiga Grantiņa, Darja Meļņikova, Evita Vasiļjeva & Kaspars Groševs. All six of the finalists’works can be viewed at the LNMA until June 11, at a special exhibition curated by Daiga Rudzāte and designed by Martins Vizbulis.

Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere. 2019. Photo Oļegs Zernovs

For the third time, today there were also presented the Award for Lifetime Contribution to one of the leading Latvian textile artists - Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere ‘for over a half century’s worth of work in textile art, high in artistic quality and filled with creative energy, her dedication to experimenting and searching for innovative solutions, thus evidencing the medium’s wealth of potential for creating artistic ideas in the context of its time.’

‘Researchers of Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere’s art often draw parallels with two of her contemporaries, the great textile art innovators Magdalena Abakanowicz (Poland) and Sheila Hicks (USA); undeniably these three artists have their metaphysical points of intersection: they share fanatical devotion to the creative process, courage to experiment and transgress the established boundaries. And yet each of them is a brilliant star in the universe of art in her own right; for us here in Latvia it is Edīte Pauls-Vīgnere. We are proud of her‘, says Inese Baranovska, Head of the Decorative Arts and Design Museum.

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