press release

The biannual art prize Gure Artea, supported by the Basque Government, is being awarded this year to three artists resident in this autonomous region. Gure Artea first took place in 1982, while regional institutions aimed at supporting and promoting art and artists from the local context were being set up and consolidated. Award winners in previous editions include Itziar Okariz, Jon Mikel Euba, Azucena Vieites, Ibon Aranberri, Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa and Abigail Lazkoz.

The group show Gure Artea 2008 is the first stage of the award. It presents the jury's selection of works from among those submitted in an open call. The jury was made up of Miren Jaio, curator of this edition; Anna María Guasch, Pablo Lafuente and Carla Zaccagnini.

The sala rekalde will be presenting works by the twelve selected artists, born between 1965 and 1982: Lorea Alfaro, Atoma, Nadia Barkate, Inazio Escudero, Mikel Eskauriaza, Iñaki Imaz, Iratxe Jaio y Klaas van Gorkum, Maider López, Asier Mendizabal, Kiko Pérez, Xabier Salaberria and Manu Uranga.

Over time there has been an effort to adapt the award to the changing conditions of art practice. It is no longer organized into categories of disciplines as it was twenty-six years ago. However, in the present exhibition the specificity of different media is strongly present: painting, sculpture, drawing, video, performance and photography are all shown, and several of the artists are signified by the exercise of a particular discipline. Rather than denoting a possible "return to order", this specificity signals the irrelevance of a chosen medium when defining art practise, which is determined by ways of working and forms of production over and above the support used.

There are different references in the exhibition: documentation as part of the working process; policies of urban planning; intervention in the landscape with slogans that announce nothing in a post-industrial environment, or a football field in an Islamic city; the private spaces of rooms under construction in council buildings; badly lit scenes of couples; images taken from the entertainment industries (TV, porn, YouTube); the combination of painting, the vocabulary of Minimalism and the ordinary image of a garage door; collaboration (two out of the twelve proposals are group projects); relationships generated by the superimposition and gestural repetition of forms, motifs and disparate motifs or textures in photographs, and scenes of galloping horses and singers.

Though the only thing the works have in common is the fact that they were produced in the Basque context in 2008, they inevitably share the same contemporary characteristic of otherness and inadaptation to a reality saturated with signs: an object which is neither a Minimalist sculpture nor a shelf; clumsily-painted repeated motifs of faces and mountains; a video which is not a register of a performance but the strange result of it; the backdrop to a Clash concert - an amalgam of nationalities - without its stage.

The names of the prizewinners will be made public on the 9th of October, the opening day of the show: The exhibition is complemented by the catalogue Gure Artea 2008 containing an essay on repetition as a condition of contemporary experience.

The second part of Gure Artea, the presentation of an exhibition of the three award-winners work, will take place in October 2009 at the Museo Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz..

Events: Thursday 6 November, 19.30. Anplia, a performance by Inazio Escudero. 14, 18, 20 November: three conversations, each between an award-winner and a jury member.

only in german

Gure Artea 2008
20th edition of the Basque Government Art Awards.
Basque Government Department for the Promotion of Culture

Künstler: Lorea Alfaro, Atoma, Nadia Barkate, Inazio Escudero, Mikel Eskauriaza, Inaki Imaz, Iratxe Jaio / Klaas van Gorkum, Maider Lopez, Asier Mendizabal, Kiko Perez, Xabier Salaberria, Manu Uranga