press release

The exhibition Biella Prize for Engraving 2006 comprises almost fifty works, including many complete portfolios, created in the last three years, by thirty-four of the most important contemporary artists. Artists from a wide range of nationalities are represented in the exhibition including Argentina, Austria, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Israel, Mexico, Holland, Palestine, Poland, the US and South Africa.

The aim of the Biella Prize has traditionally been to give prominence to contemporary printmaking and not only to take an international outlook but to showcase a broad spectrum of techniques, from woodcuts to photogravure, thereby demonstrating the continuing vitality of the graphic arts as an instrument of expression, even among artists of the latest generation. It is not by chance, then, that the selected topic for this sixteenth edition, is Art in the Age of Anxiety, a critical reflection on the social and political realities of our times. "Insecurity, anger, escape from a painful reality, satirical criticism, idealization of the past, an interest in ecology, a focus on the contingent, the informal and the worthless, the numbing of feeling, dystopia, regeneration, extinction and chaos are among the themes of the artists I have selected for the show. Consciously or unconsciously, artists mirror the world. They are sensitive barometers of our time expressing opinions, observing its complexities and displaying our ambivalences." as Jeremy Lewison writes in the catalogue.

The Biella Prize for Engraving was conceived in 1963 from an idea of art critic Luigi Carluccio and industrialist Aldo Zegna. The original formula, which concentrated on more classical techniques, such as copperplate, etching, aquatint, drypoint, burin and woodcuts, opened up in recent editions to new print processes as Claudio Botto Poala, the President of the International Biella Prize for Engraving, explains: "the term 'engraving,' which is present in our Association's name today, is no longer precisely technically correct; nonetheless, we wanted to preserve it in respect for the founders, who started this initiative forty years ago."

With the support of the Industrial Union of Biella, from the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio (Savings Bank) in Biella, the Province of Biella, the City of Biella, the Biella Commerce Board, which founded the Cultural Association that promotes the Prize, and with a contribution from the Regione Piemonte, the organization decided on the creation of a fund destined for the acquisition of the most representative works—chosen by an international jury presided over by Ida Gianelli, director of the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Castello di Rivoli—which will be announced on the day of the opening.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Skira, with a text by Jeremy Lewison, colour images, biographical synopses of the selected artists and a list of works on show, edited by Barbara Casavecchia.

Kurator: Jeremy Lewison


only in german

Biella Prize for Engraving 2006
Art in the Age of Anxiety
Kurator: Jeremy Lewison

mit Miroslaw Balka, Christiane Baumgartner, Carole Benzaken, Sophie Calle, Enrique Chagoya, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Jim Dine, Olafur Eliasson, Walton Ford, Günther Förg, Simon Frost, Joseph Grigely, Richard Hamilton, Jane Hammond, Mona Hatoum, Yun-Fei Ji, William Kentridge, Sovann Kim, Per Kirkeby, Guillermo Kuitca, Michael Landy, Goshka Macuga, Julie Mehretu, Olaf Nicolai, Gabriel Orozco, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Tal R, Adrian Schiess, Linda Schwarz, Francesco Simeti, Kiki Smith, Richard Tuttle, Rachel Whiteread, Terry Winters