Two residencies, the Special Award of the President of the ERGO Hestia Group, Piotr M. Śliwicki, the Special Jury Award and an art scholarship of the Hestia Artistic Journey Foundation were handed out during yesterday's opening of an exhibition, which concluded the 17th Hestia Artistic Journey competition. The event, which took place at the Museum on the Vistula, a branch of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, attracted many visitors, artists, connoisseurs of art and critics. The exhibition, which will be open until 4 July 2018, offers a glimpse of the way that young artists view contemporary social and artistic issues.
The Hestia Artistic Journey competition, an important annual event in the Polish art market, creates an opportunity for young artists to present their works to a wider audience. As the experience of previous editions of the Hestia Artistic Journey competition has demonstrated, awards in this competition open new paths of artistic growth to the young winners. The award and the opportunities it creates become an authentic and inspiring milestone in an artist's career.
This year, the main prize went to Mateusz Sarzyński, a student at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. The award includes a month-long residency at Residency Unlimited and a journey to the world's capital of modern art: New York City. Members of the jury justified their choice in this way: “For the uncompromising stance, for consistency of growth, independent of artistic fashion, for the energy to create 300 paintings in a year, for self-awareness and for the fact that this young artist knows exactly why and for what purpose he is to travel to New York.
The second prize was awarded to Jakub Danilewicz, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. The young artist will spend an inspiring month in Valencia, where he will complete an art residency program at the Universitat Politècnica de València. The jury gave the following reason for its decision: “He used his short trip to southern Europe to transform the bright and dark sides of reality into a beautiful film. His work looks into the future, in a direction which art will have to confront.
A new award was granted for the first time, funded by the Hestia Artistic Journey Foundation – the organiser of the competition. It is a six-month scholarship worth PLN 12,000 gross, to enable the recipient to create an artistic project on the theme of “journey”. Bruno Althamer, a student at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, won the scholarship. The choice was justified by Magdalena Kąkolewska, president of the Hestia Artistic Journey Foundation: “The artist impressed us with his well-thought-out strategy of speaking about important issues. His work is marked by detachment, as well as engagement. Furthermore, the artist skilfully combines humour with seriousness. This creates a new point of view, which changes our perception of reality.
Unexpectedly, a special jury award was also granted this year - a prize worth PLN 6,000 gross. It went to Adelina Cimochowicz, a student at the New Media Faculty at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The decision was justified by Sebastian Cichocki: “The jury appreciated the fact that the artist derived inspiration from social sensitivity, and that, driven by ideas of emancipation, she used her art to change social reality, ignoring the boundaries between art and activism. She represents a young generation of artists, who treat their work as a civic duty, drawing on the 20th-century avant-garde tradition, and taking seriously the idea that work and everyday activities should be enriched by artistic imagination.
In addition to scholarships and residencies, a special prize was also awarded, funded by the president of the ERGO Hestia Group, Piotr M. Śliwicki. Joanna Kunert, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, who won the prize, will be commissioned to create an artistic interpretation of the company's annual report. The result of such a project – the work of Agnieszka Mastalerz, winner of last year's special prize, who took her inspiration from dreams – was presented during yesterday's opening of the exhibition. This work resulted in two parallel outcomes: firstly, a publication, entitled “Cognition. Trajectory of bodies”, which describes the financial performance of the ERGO Hestia Group in 2017 and an artistic project carried out with the participation of ERGO Hestia employees. Secondly, an artistic undertaking, entitled “Trajectory of bodies”, which demonstrates the idea of performance, focusing on that which cannot be predicted or controlled.