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Works by artists competing for £40,000 Artes Mundi Prize go on show at National Museum Cardiff

Eight shortlisted artists, whose work reflects different worlds and different realities make up the fourth major Artes Mundi exhibition of international contemporary art, opening at National Museum Cardiff on Thursday (11 March) to 6 June 2010.

Levent Çaliko?lu - Chief Curator at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and Viktor Misiano - curator and art critic based in Moscow and Italy, were given the task of shortlisting eight artists from almost 500 international nominations from 80 countries, for Artes Mundi 4. They have brought together artists whose work reflects the politics that surround them.

Adrian Paci is an Albanian who now lives in Italy following his country’s traumatic regime change; Ergin Çavu?o?lu is a Bulgarian who escaped the assimilation policies of a dying communist government; Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev live in one of the newly formed Central Asian Republics – Kyrgyzstan but grew up in exactly the same place during the Soviet era; Olga Chernysheva continues to live in her native Russia yet witnesses daily how Muscovites come to terms with their new social order; Chen Chieh-jen based in Taiwan exposes the uncertainties his country faces in the proximity of his neighbour China; Yael Bartana explores the relationship of the individual within society, in particular that of Israel and other communities with strong Jewish – Israeli connections; and Fernando Bryce, as a Peruvian, living for almost 20 years in Europe re-presents history both imperial and colonial and shows how different forms of media have presented events.

In Artes Mundi 4, the artists explore issues of national identity, globalisation, consumerism, propaganda and migration. Using the media of painting, photography, film, video, sound, installation and drawing, they present the impact of economic and political changes on their immediate rural or urban environments and on wider communities - local, regional and global. From Kyrgyz traders on the Great Silk Road to Taiwanese factory workers, the lives of ordinary people around the globe are made real and unfamiliar cultures are brought closer.

“In recent months as the curator of the exhibition which presents a body of work by each of the artists, I have become aware of the on-going affects of the fall of communism,” said Tessa Jackson, founding Artistic Director of Artes Mundi and recently appointed CEO of Iniva.

“The social upheaval following such political change has forced some to leave their country of birth, move away from their family and build life afresh in a new context. Others have continued their lives where they have always been based, and they experience ‘new order’ from familiar surroundings. All of the shortlisted artists’ work reflect their political context in some way.”

The aim of Artes Mundi, which brings together outstanding artists from around the world who stimulate thinking about the human condition and humanity, is to give a platform to contemporary artists who are established in their own countries but have previously received little critical recognition in the UK. Many are known on the international art scene, some through exhibiting at biennales and other significant art events.

The Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones said:


"Artes Mundi is one of the largest contemporary arts prizes in the world, and has become a much anticipated date in the Welsh contemporary arts calendar.

"The prize recognises bold and interesting artists from around the world and I encourage anyone with an interest in contemporary art to visit the exhibition of this year's finalists."

The judges will consider the artists’ work of the last five to eight years and the winner of the £40,000 Prize will be announced at National Museum Cardiff on 19 May 2010.

Mike Tooby, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales’ Director of Learning, Programmes and Development explains how the Museum’s partnership with Artes Mundi has developed since its inception:

“The collaboration between Amgueddfa Cymru and Artes Mundi is more than a venue and exhibition. Artes Mundi has played a key role in developing the Museum’s reputation in its work supporting and presenting Welsh and international contemporary artists. The major new space at National Museum Cardiff, opening in summer 2011 will give us an even greater opportunity to communicate our role within the contemporary art scene in Wales and beyond.”

The international selection and judging processes are supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch as part of their well-established US arts programme which is currently being extended to Europe. Joining them as a principal sponsor of Artes Mundi 4 is the newly developed shopping centre in Cardiff, St David’s Dewi Sant which has also invested significantly into public art in the city. Other sponsors of Artes Mundi 4 include Admiral,, Legal & General, Starbucks, UWIC (University of Wales Institute Cardiff), Sky Arts, First Great Western, and the Western Mail. In recognition of their creative partnerships with the corporate sector, Artes Mundi 4 has been funded through the Arts & Business Investment Programme.