At the award ceremony held on 6 April in the Museum of Contemporary Art, the winners of this year’s tenth and jubilee HT award MSU competition were announced. The first prize went to Igor Grubić for his work “Spomenik” (Monument), the second prize was awarded to Davor Sanvicenti for “Nedefinirana divljina” (Undefined Wilderness), and the third prize was picked up by Ines Matijević Cakić for “Portret s kosom” (Portrait with Hair). 243 works of art were submitted to the competition, of which 29 works of art were selected by the Expert Committee for the exhibition, competing for the most prestigious purchase prizes in the recent visual artistic creation.
The multimedia artist Igor Grubić and his film “Monument” was awarded the first prize (HRK 75,000) at the tenth competition exhibition of the HT award for Croatian contemporary art.
In his experimental film “Monument”, Igor Grubić is using the synergy of picture, atmosphere, sound, dramaturgy and monumental abstract modernist form to create a work of poetry of first-class artistic reach.
“The subject of the author’s interest is the display of nine monuments in various stages of decay, filmed in a slow rhythm, accompanied by musical dramaturgy, thus creating a contemplative and meditative atmosphere. Each monument has been filmed in a carefully selected time of the year, producing an accentuated synergy with atmospheric conditions and elusive traces of life. The monuments were erected in the era of socialist Yugoslavia in commemoration of the deaths and sufferings of the people and fighters of the Yugoslav People's Liberation War in these areas. In the last few years, authors dealing with artistic activism have pointed out, to a large extent, the issue of post-war Yugoslavia’s monumental heritage, mainly to make the audience aware of the aesthetic quality of these works, but at the same time to attract the attention of political centres and the general public. Igor Grubić went a step further. Immersed into the landscape, shown in carefully framed shots, the monuments became highly aestheticized pictures, elevated to the status of a living organism. The powerful poetical atmosphere provides the memory of a place of suffering, but also of the present-day condition of negligence and devastation. This is how the film turns into a monument to the monuments, into a metaphor of the evanescence of social, ethical and aesthetical ideals. This film by Igor Grubić is free of pathos, going beyond activism. It poses, in a subtle way, general human questions about the past, present and future of monuments as achievements of civilisation from a specific era”, says the explanatory statement of the Expert Committee Member Nataša Ivančević.
Nedefinirana divljina (Undefined Wilderness)
The prize worth HRK 45,000 went to Davor Sanvincenti for his multimedia installation “Undefined Wilderness”.
“At first, this work of Davor Sanvincenti may appear to be very hermetic and complex. Maybe I am trapped in the classical aesthetics of contextual artistic practice where background knowledge and additional explanation of its context and intrinsic logic is somehow crucial in finding the approach to the hidden treasure of intellectual pleasure, drought of logic and the brilliant idea. But, as a matter of fact, this work of art is not flirting with such kind of secrecy. It really is based on senses. Like in a game of hide and seek, many signs, traces and references will reveal and manifest a rather poetic mood. The work consists of 16 mm black and white film, found footage material, of just 57 film frames. There is also a re-animation of the film which shows a person finding his way through a severe snowstorm, carrying a heavy load on his back. The work also consists of blurred photos of the landscape and nature, taken by a Polaroid camera, various handwritten texts on the wall and a projection of a circle of light looking similar to the sun of some solar system. The work as such looks like a small universe. Each individual element may function as a threshold and provide access by its language, its short looped film sequence, its footage fragments, by its three Polaroid photos, and by an additional film showing the mountains, or by the circle of light.
This work is an extraordinary work of art of formally extraordinary presentation – it does not play with the aesthetics of everyday life, but rather defines a unique artistic space as a kind of sensory communication that eludes language to a great extent. It is a call to sensory and open art that is not limited to language or transfer into words. This work of art makes no attempt at achieving tautologous perfection of true proposals, but rather creates a sensory field. It a situation open to various readings, various ideas, various emotions and variety in general. This is excellent art – the one that will open the mind, break down prejudices and allow to experience reality in a new and different light”, said the HT award MSU Expert Committee Member, Rainald Schumacher.
Portret s kosom (Portrait with Hair) – Third prize winner
The third prize at this year’s competition exhibition of the HT award MSU was presented to the young artist Ines Matijević Cakić for her “Portrait with Hair”.
“Since ancient times, hair has been a symbol of vitality; it is a strong gesture of individuality, but also of affiliation to a certain social group; it is extremely important in our everyday rituals, and it is the subject of religious beliefs, myths and fiction. Hair is not only our natural ornament and protection for the head, it carries, like few other body parts, a large number of symbolic meanings. The Hebrew judge Samson lost his strength when his hair was cut, and in the Middle Ages, women were declared witches because of their red hair. In the 17th Century, artificial hair and extremely big wigs reflected affiliation to the high class in France, while in the Seventies of the 20th Century, the punk movement generated unrest in the petty bourgeois societies of Europe. Keeping a loved person’s lock of hair in the wallet or in a necklace is customary in numerous cultures even today, and the art of creating hair memorabilia developed particularly in the Biedermeier era of the 19th Century. Masters made filigree necklaces, brooches and miniature portraits with incredible precision. This activity became extinct with the advent of photography, however, from the period of surrealism and works of Meret Oppenheim and Mimi Parent until the present day, we often come across the topic of hair as the object of artists’ work. In her work “Portrait with Hair”, Ines Matijević Cakić is using hair to address, in a contained and simple, but nevertheless impressive way, the topic that is deeply emotional and personal on one hand, and actually so universal and eternal on the other hand; she speaks about the relationship between mother and daughter, using the vocabulary of an artist who already has excelled as a distinguished drawer, so that she has no need to prove this again on this occasion. Ines has recorded a touching point of time in life, using refined artistic language, and the Expert Committee is of the opinion that this work of art deserves to be a part of the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art; this is why it has been awarded the third price“, explains the President of the Expert Committee and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Snježana Pinatrić.
The first prize was handed over to Igor Grubić by Milan Bandić, Mayor of the City of Zagreb. The second prize was presented to Davor Sanvincenti by Iva Hraste Sočo, Ph.D., Assistant Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia. The third prize was handed over to Ines Matijević Cakić by Nina Išek Međugorac, Corporate Communication Director at Hrvatski Telekom, who pointed out that the company Hrvatski Telekom recognises true values and therefore has been supporting modern art for many years.
On behalf of the entire Expert Committee, Snježana Pintarić, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art and President of the Expert Committee of HT Award – MSU Zagreb, said that this year, special awards were presented to the Fokus Group, to Igor Ruf and Tjaša Kalkan.
HT Award MSU – Award Ceremony
The exhibition was open until 9 April 2017. The largest number of audience votes was collected by Tjaša Kalkan for the Dialogues photo series - she received the Audience Prize worth HRK 10,000.
The HT award for Croatian contemporary art is a competition exhibition created in collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art and Hrvatski Telekom which, for the 10th year, is discovering and promoting the best, most exciting and latest pieces of Croatian modern art. The HT award for Croatian contemporary art exhibition, which throughout the last ten years managed to develop into a representative and relevant overview of the situation on the national visual arts scene, is the largest and one of the most significant awards honouring modern visual creation in Croatia.