Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2018

2018 award edition brings an important novelty: a three-member international jury selects the laureate and recipients of two grants based on the proposals given by 10 nominators; third grant is still named by the laureate. The 2018 jury has awarded art historian and curator Joanna Mytkowska (Poland) the Igor Zabel Award 2018 for her committed and outstanding work as the director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Igor Zabel Award Grants, according to the jury's selection are given to Edith Jeřábková (Czech Republic) and Oberliht Association (Moldova); the laureate, Joanna Mytkowska granted The Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC, Ukraine).


2018 jury members: Adam Budak (chief curator, National Gallery, Prague), Ana Janevski (curator, MoMA, New York), Erzen Shkololli (director, National Art Gallery of Albania, Tirana)


2018 nominators: Anna Daučíková, Branislav Dimitrijević, Maja and Reuben Fowkes, Christian Höller, Lívia Páldi, Dan Perjovschi, Magdalena Radomska, Barbara Steiner, Adam Szymczyk, Maria Vassileva

The award ceremony took place at Moderna galerija in Ljubljana on 7 December 2018, accompanied by a conferenceArt – How Much is it Still an Idea for the Future?. Upon the tenth anniversary of the Igor Zabel Award, an award programme also included the premiere of a documentary film about Igor Zabel.


2018 award recipient (EUR 40,000)

Joanna Mytkowska, art historian, curator and, since 2007, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The jury acknowledges the extraordinary intellectual, curatorial and civic achievements that Joanna Mytkowska has developed over the last 15 years, especially as the director of MoMA in Warsaw. Notable are her exceptional commitment to reaffirming the relation of art to society in times of radical socio-political transformations in Poland and beyond as well as her outstanding expertise on art from Central and Eastern Europe.
Read the whole jury's statement.

In the 1990s, Mytkowska started her professional career as a curator at the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw, a legendary, non-commercial art space set up by artists in 1966. After that, she co-founded and worked at the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw with the aim of establishing research and funding opportunities for Polish contemporary art as well as taking care of the legacy of Polish avant-garde artists. From 2006 to 2007, she worked at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, but soon after embarking on her international curatorial career outside of Poland, she decided to return to Warsaw and took over directorship of the MoMA.

Joanna Mytkowska, photo: Tadeusz Rolke
Joanna Mytkowska, photo: Tadeusz Rolke

2018 grant recipients (EUR 12,000 each)

2018 grant recipient according to the jury's selection:
→ Edith Jeřábková, curator, researcher, teacher and art writer from Prague, for her outstanding contribution to the artistic life in the Czech Republic (and beyond) with her polyphonic practice as an innovative cultural producer, prolific curator and writer as well as a passionate teacher and researcher. The jury also acknowledges Edith Jeřábková’s resilience regarding emancipating non-institutional forms of cultural production and searching for new articulations of curatorial practice and theory.

photo: Vojtech Frohlich
photo: Vojtech Frohlich

2018 grant recipient according to the jury's selection:
Oberliht Association from Chisinau, Moldova, in recognition of its ongoing support to the local artistic community and its innovative engagement with projects in the public space. The association’s collective and self-organisation structure, its social, innovative and direct engagement with the local public space and public issues, make Oberliht the right candidate for the Igor Zabel Award Grant.

photo: Oberliht archive
photo: Oberliht archive

2018 grant recipient according to the laureate's selection:
The Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC) from Kyiv, as a unique research-based organisation that has emerged from the academic and artistic circles and, through the analysis of visual culture, aims to foster reflection on the post-Soviet political and economic situation. VCRC has therefore established a unique background for acting, critical thinking and creativity in the highly difficult context of Ukraine in the state of war today.

VCRC collective, photo: Oleksandr Kovalenko
VCRC collective, photo: Oleksandr Kovalenko

photo: Nada Žgank

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