Press Releases


Exhibition: 6 October 2012 – 13 January 2013 at Wales’ National Museum of Art, Cardiff                                                                                                        

Prize Awarding: 29 November 2012

Artes Mundi 5 is delighted to announce further details about the 2012 exhibition, including new works created especially for this year’s edition by shortlisted artists Miriam Bäckström, Tania Bruguera, Darius Mikšys and Apolonija Šušterši?, as well as a range of additional works by shortlisted artists, Phil Collins, Sheela Gowda and Teresa Margolles. Artes Mundi 5 will also feature a strong programme of artist performances and participatory events which represents a major new focus for this year’s exhibition and prize.



Taking place from 6 October 2012, Artes Mundi 5 will feature the work of seven ground-breaking contemporary artists of growing international importance whose practices engage with social reality, lived experience and the human condition. The exhibition will take place at the National Museum of Art under the roof of National Museum Cardiff. For the first time Artes Mundi will also be in partnership with organisations such as Cardiff-based multidisciplinary arts centre Chapter, who will provide an additional venue for some of the works. The winner of the prize will be announced at a special award ceremony taking place on 29 November 2012 at National Museum Cardiff. With a first prize of £40,0000, Artes Mundi is the largest cash prize awarded for the arts in the UK and one of the most significant in the world. For Artes Mundi 5, each shortlisted artist will receive £4,000 and one of the artists will be selected for a solo exhibition, to be presented in 2014 in the lead up to Artes Mundi 6, at the recently refurbished Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno, Wales. This year will also welcome the inclusion of an audience choice poll for the prize, allowing the public to vote for their favourite artist and work in the exhibition. The results of the poll will be revealed at the close of the exhibition in January 2013.


Swedish artist Miriam Bäckström will present a new large scale tapestry Smile as if we have already won.  Reflecting her practice which explores the processes of creating and recreating memory using photography, text, theatre and video, Smile as if we have already won mixes cotton, wool, silk and lurex, woven into a massive 3 meter high and 12 meter wide scene. Hung in an arc across the gallery space, the tapestry will depict figures in a room composed of mirror fragments, creating the sense that the work is simultaneously claustrophobic and infinitely expanding.

Cuban artist Tania Bruguera will be presenting Immigrant Respect Campaign, as part of her long-term art project, Immigrant Movement International (2010-2015). The work is an artist-initiated socio-political movement exploring what defines an ‘immigrant’. The campaign will feature the symbol of the Immigrant Respect ribbon and include a projection of the artist’s work on the front of National Museum Cardiff on Thursday 4 October, alongside a poster campaign throughout central Cardiff. Visitors to the exhibition at the National Museum of Art will also be invited to sign a Moral Commitment Contract promoting immigrants’ rights.

Lithuanian artist Darius Mikšys will present a new work The Code. Taking Egl? Obcarskait?’s essay about Mikšys for the Artes Mundi 5 exhibition catalogue, the text has been deconstructed into ‘search terms’. These have then been fed into the National Museum Wales’ seven collection databases and the results of which will create a unique installation that forms a portrait of the artist and his practice through objects in the Museum’s collection. Mikšys’ practice is known to explore installation as a means to experiment, conceptualise and re-imagine the processes of making, displaying and engaging with art.

Architect and visual artist Apolonija Šušterši? will present her new work Politics"In Space"/ Tiger Bay Project, which looks at the development of the Cardiff Bay area following the completion of the barrage. This project will expand on her practice which responds to contemporary urban regeneration and the social, political, economic and environmental issues surrounding it. Presented in the form of a video installation, Šušterši? has engaged with a variety of individuals and organisations involved with and opposed to the development, to explore its past, present and future. 


Additional highlights to be displayed include British artist Phil Collins will be presenting his work free fotolab which offers the viewer a glimpse into the lives of strangers. Collins offered individuals, in several European cities, free processing and prints from their undeveloped rolls of films in return for the rights to use them. The result is a nine-minute slideshow including holiday snaps, weddings, pets and other private moments. Using performance-based and conceptual approaches to video and photography Collins’ work often explores the very essence of what it is to be human.

Indian artist Sheela Gowda’s large-scale abstract sculpture, Kagebangara, comprising tar drums, sourced from Indian road workers, alongside yellow and blue plastic tarpaulin. This is exemplary of Gowda’s sculptural and installation practice insofar as it explores how materials can make specific reference to the social and cultural context of India. In this work Gowda subtly references the source materials original use, which in this case brings shelters like those built by the migrant construction workers along the roadside into the gallery space.

Having trained in forensic medicine, Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, examines the economics of death through sculptural interventions and performances. In this exhibition she will present one of her ‘multisensory’ sculptures. In Plancha, water which has been used to cleanse dead bodies in the morgue drips from the ceiling onto hotplates. Each drop evaporates on impact with a noticeable hiss. The work will seek to narrate the transition in death from present to absent, the processes of decomposition and ultimately honours anonymous lives that have been lost.


Performances and offsite projects to be featured as part of Artes Mundi 5 include Phil Collins’ This Unfortunate Thing Between Us. Split in two broadcasts to be screened in retro caravans on the forecourt of Chapter Arts Centre, this work takes the format of a teleshopping channel, but instead of commodities for sale viewers have a choice of ‘fantasies at promotional prices’. Hosted by a cast of actors from a range of professions including stand up, teleshopping and pornography with a live soundtrack by Gruff Rhys and Y Niwl, viewers are invited to watch both the sale and the fulfilment of these experiences.


Miriam Bäckström will be presentingtwo performances of her playMotherfucker at Chapter Arts Centre. Exploring the complex roles, positions and perspectives within a relationship, a female director asks a male actor to forge a character whom she wants to meet in order to be able to leave. The use of performance mixed with live video feed will create a paradox between the real and mediated video that is simultaneously being projected.


Other artist projects include Live Talk Show, a public panel discussion as part of Apolonija Šušterši?’s Politics "In Space"/ Tiger Bay Project. It willdiscuss the redevelopment of Cardiff Bay aiming to draw out and add to the debates raised in Šušterši?’s installation. During the five days of Experimentica 12, Chapter’s annual live art festival, 1x1x1 will feature one film, by one artist, for one day each. Screened in Chapter Gallery it will include films by Teresa Margolles, Phil Collins, Tania Bruguera, Miriam Bäckström and Apolonija Šušterši?.


Ben Borthwick, Artistic Director, Artes Mundi said:

“It is a really exciting development for Artes Mundi that so many of the international artists are creating new work for the exhibition. Through these commissions there is a direct engagement with the social and economic context of Cardiff, a reconsideration of National Museum Wales’ collections, and reflection on the complexities of individual and collective identity. And for the first time a number of projects will be presented outside the museum, accessing new audiences and activating the relationship between the artwork and public space.”


Bank of America Merrill Lynch is principal sponsor of the Artes Mundi 5 Exhibition and Prize this year.      As a company serving clients in more than 90 countries, it is committed to a diverse programme of cultural support. The company’s art and culture platform is a key element of its broader corporate responsibility strategy which seeks to develop substantive solutions for social and environmental challenges.

Notes to Editors:

The 2012 nominated artists include: Miriam Bäckström (Sweden), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Phil Collins (England), Sheela Gowda (India), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Darius Mikšys (Lithuania) and Apolonija Šušterši? (Slovenia).

For further information, interview requests and images, please contact:

Lleucu Cooke | Communications Officer

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales                                                                       

T +44 (0)29 2057 3175


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