Final of the 16th edition of the competition in Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw 2017

In the 16th edition of the competition, the jury decided to award ex aequo two First Prizes to: Katarzyna Szymkiewicz, a student of the Jan Matejko Fine Arts Academy in Krakow, and Józef Gałązka, a student of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.The young artists will be off on a month-long artistic journey to the world’s capital of modern art – New York. As part of the prize, they will also have the opportunity of a post-residence exhibition in Warsaw. In justifying their choice, jury stated, “It’s rare for a jury of this competition to be so much in agreement. Rare also when the choice is such a surprise for most of us. A very positive surprise. On an artistic journey to New York we would like to invite Katrzyna Szymkiewicz – an artist who uses a very unpopular medium that receives scant attention today. Her works have neither beginning nor end, but are a process: one results from the previous one; rather than working on a rectangle of canvas, she allows her images to spread endlessly, and even... climb up a radiator. Also going to New York is Józef Gałązka, who creates works that are thoughtful and formally refined. He uses many known artistic techniques, for in 2017 we have plaster busts, assemblages, ready-mades, and social or participatory works. With great care he creates form, but, as he himself puts it, he would feel guilty if his works were not esthetically pure. Beauty in his art has utility, draws emphasis, builds relations. Family, social, even inter-species.

The winner of the Second Prize is Horacy Muszyński, a student of the Academy of Art in Szczecin. Along with the opportunity of a post-residence exhibition in Warsaw, he will spend an inspiring month in Valencia. In awarding this prize, the jury stated:
“We award this prize for a series of experimental films entitled “City of Kletno”, which represents a unique approach to the medium of film, an intelligent step beyond the institutional paths of art, and a proposal for a new language composed of old, solid elements: performance, drama, open-air art and TV series. The awarded work is an interdisciplinary creation that can be presented successfully outside art institutions, characterised as it is by a witty text, dark humour and references to pop culture. 

Apart from the prizes connected with residences abroad, a Special Prize was also awarded, funded by the CEO of Sopot’s ERGO Hestia, Piotr M. Śliwicki. The prize went to Agnieszka Mastalerz of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. It includes a commission for an artistic interpretation of the ERGO Hestia Group’s annual report. Interestingly, the result of such cooperation can be seen this year in the Museum on the Vistula: The ERGO Hestia Group’s Annual Report for 2016, entitled “Net”, which had its premiere during the final gala. It is a very interesting take on the insurer’s activities for the year, executed in the dataesthetics style. Its author, the graphic artist Hanna Dyrcz, winner of the Special Prize in the 15th edition of the competition, collected and pre-analysed huge data sets in order to select the most interesting and significant for the company, and then presented them in the form of startling images. The exhibition features not only the report itself, but also provides information on the graphic design, which arose after months of searching, meetings and conversations held with ERGO Hestia employees.

(photos Piotr Litwic)