The Deste Prize was established in 1999 and is awarded biennially to a Greek or Cypriot artist living in Greece or abroad. The prize aims to showcase an emerging generation of artists and is integral to the foundation’s policy of supporting and promoting contemporary art.
The six shortlisted artists for the Deste Prize 2013 – Marianna Christofides, Elias Papailiakis, Michail Pirgelis, Kostas Sahpazis, Maria Theodoraki, Alexandros Tzannis – will present work in an exhibition hosted by the Museum of Cycladic Art, which is scheduled to run from 24th April through to 30th September, 2013. Collaboration between the Deste Foundation and the Museum of Cycladic Art falls within the scope of the latter’s “Young Views” program, which aims to engage a younger audience, bring the public up to date with developments in contemporary cultural production and open up a dynamic space for the exchange of ideas.
The winner of the prize will be selected by an international Jury of six and announced during an award ceremony to be held on September 9, 2013. The winner receives the amount of €10,000.
Following a suggestion of this year’s Selection Committee, the current edition of the Deste Prize Exhibition will feature a performance by the Nova Melancholia theater group, which is known for its use of a highly diverse, hybrid language. The performance will take place on the day of the show’s opening, on April 24, 2013.
The Deste Prize Shortlisted Artists: “Recorded realities” are explored through metonymy in the work of Marianna Christofides . Images are treated as visual records of histories and sites to which the prospect of revision and reconstruction is inherent. Removed from their original context secondary coincidental narratives provide the space for a journey, a cross-section through multiple layers of space-time and scientific disciplines. Shifts, flashforwards, and metaphors are basic devices employed in her creative approach, which rests on a use of various media and methods of production. The routes along which this journey unfolds take the form of image, text, and object sequences that develop in space in the manner of installations.
Ilias Papailiakis focuses on the image and its relationship with the physical object. The process on which his work is based interrogates figurative painting through an array of fragmented or partial forms that seem to belong to larger wholes in small or medium sized paintings. His iconography is sparse as the images he creates are abstract and formed mostly by color. For Papaeliakis color is a language through which to express one's ideas. As the artist himself remarks: “I use white, black, yellow, red, and blue, to give shape to the need for yet another new proposal; to paint the hope for yet another new language”.
Michail Pirgelis explores the notion of flight, seeking all over the world the resting places of obsolete airplanes and transforming their remnants into sculptures. Following a different process each time, the artist decontextualizes the fragmented aircraft parts while keeping the aura of the objects intact. Michail Pirgelis explores the fragility and the awe of flying as well as the human desire to defy gravity, which entails also the danger of complete failure. The archaic, mythical dream of flying is unveiled through the minimalistic forms that signify the perpetual technological evolution. The artist’s modernist discourse is reminiscent of the drives that open up new possibilities of looking, thinking and thus acting. Pirgelis creates a “contemporary archaeology” where the aircraft’s pieces are strange amalgams of the past, seen in the present while denoting the future.
Kostas Sahpazis describes his work as being based in the properties and characteristics of materials both as natural entities and intelligible structures. Gestures, forms, ideas, materials are archived, riven, condensed and finally used to form an object with a constant disposition to undermine its own form. The materials he uses in his sculptural objects and assemblages, some of which are wall-pieces carrying attributes primarily associated with painting, range from jesmonite, resins, latex, wood, oil paint, fabric to leather, water cut steel, aluminum, copper, red clay. His process can be summarized as a continuous shift of an original idea; the meanings of all the stages remain suspended in the resulting object.
References and associations, typologies, works evolving into different ones and works interacting with one another, process as content and the art object as pretext and testimony of action are the main characteristics of Maria Theodoraki’s work. The public space and other artists’ work act as open fields for developing actions concerned with defining and claiming one’s own identity in the context of the city.
Alexandros Tzannis mainly aims to speak of time by bringing to our attention things soon to be forgotten. His intention is made manifest in the manner of his work – a laborious, time-consuming process – as well as in his choice of lowbrow materials that combine with a futurist aesthetic, linear drawings, cosmic sculptural forms and neon lights to produce a varied visual counterpoint.