Artes Mundi 6 is a major contemporary art prize based in the UK, taking place bi-annually to bring together through an exhibition some of the world’s most celebrated artists of today. This year, the event branches out beyond the National Museum Cardiff to include Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and ffotogallery, Penarth, with a programme of performance, music, site-specific installations, film, lectures and seminars.
The 2014 shortlist was selected from over 800 nominations by Adam Budak, independent curator, and Sabine Schaschl, director of Museum Haus Konstruktiv and comprises Carlos Bunga, Omar Fast, Theaster Gates, Sanja Ivekovic, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sharon Lockhart, Renata Lucas, Renzo Martens, Karen Mirza and Brad Butler.
Karen MacKinnon, the director of Artes Mundi 6 explains that “At the centre of Artes Mundi is the belief that art is transformative both on a local and global scale. Artes Mundi 6 brings a word-class shortlist of artists to Wales and the wider British public, each working with or commenting on the human condition, to inspire, to educate and to underline the positive, transformative power of art within society, and to promote the whole of Britain as instrumental in supporting cultural innovation on the global arts stage.”
Among the artists exhibiting this year, Bunga creates architecturally scaled, site-specific installations made from mass-produced materials which touch upon issues such as immigration and socio-economic disparity, and Lucas’ manipulates the architecture of social spaces, de-contextualising architectural objects such as swimming pool steps to encourage society to be more adventurous with their urban habitats.
Working with film are Fast and Martens; the former examines modes of constructed social identity and the fallacies of language in relation to conflict and political agenda, while the latter, challenges the tendency of western media to profit from the trauma of communities in socio-political turmoil.
Gates and Kjartansson meanwhile work in a multi-disciplinary way. Gates utilises sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions to incite social engagement and political change. Kjartansson draws on the histories of visual culture and literature in video installations, performances, drawing and painting.
Ivekjovic tackles issues of female identity, the politics of power, consumerism and the paradoxes inherent in society’s collective memory. Finally the duo Mirza & Butler play on conventional understandings of the artist-audience as producer-receiver, and challenge the construction of social narrative in official settings, such as schools and museums.
The winning artist will be announced on 22 January 2015 at the National Museum Cardiff, and will receive a prize fund of £40,000, the UK’s largest monetary prize awarded to artists.
Artes Mundi 6, 24 October 2014 – 22 February 2015, National Museum Cardiff, Chapter Arts Centre and ffotogallery. For more information visit www.artesmundi.org.
1. Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, The Museum of Non Participation. Courtesy of the artists and Artes Mundi.
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