Date posted: July 29, 2011

Nominations for Artes Mundi 5, the most valuable art prize in Britain, have reached record levels.

Over 750 nominations have been received for the Wales-based prize, representing 576 individual artists from more than 90 countries.

Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi’s Artistic Director, said “This is a step-change for Artes Mundi.  Nominations have increased by more than 50% and the artists cover almost half the countries in the world. The depth of quality in the nominations has been outstanding, and Artes Mundi 5 promises to be particularly rich in stories of lived experience from all over the world. I am incredibly excited and I am confident audiences will share that excitement when they visit the exhibition.”

Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, commented that “the cultural life of Wales is of crucial importance to the way our country is perceived internationally and directly impacts on our economic growth.  Artes Mundi is at the forefront of building our worldwide reputation for excellence in the arts and I welcome the substantial increase in the number of countries involved as a sign that a major event in Wales is establishing itself as an important global focal point for the visual arts”. 

The task of whittling the long list of nominations down to the handful who will be invited to exhibit their work in Cardiff falls to two internationally-respected curators, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy and Anders Kreuger.

Anders said “As a curator of contemporary art I’m always thankful for opportunities to do in-depth new research. Shortlisting for Artes Mundi is such an opportunity: an honour, and a responsibility to be taken seriously. Almost 600 artists have been nominated this year, so it is a challenge to select six or seven of these highly accomplished individuals. But I am certain that we will be able to present some of the world’s best artists, of different generations and from all across the globe, in Cardiff next year.”

The Artes Mundi shortlist will be announced in London and in Cardiff in October 2011.


Editor’s Notes:


The Artes Mundi 5 Exhibition will be presented for 12 weeks at the National Museum of Art from October 2012.

The Artes Mundi 5 Prize will be awarded in November 2012.

Artes Mundi is an international arts organisation based in Wales. Established in 2002, Artes Mundi is committed to supporting groundbreaking contemporary visual artists from around the world whose work engages with social reality, lived experience and the human condition.

Every two years, working with artists, galleries, art institutions, curators and the British Council, Artes Mundi seeks nominations of artists known in their own country or region but who are still gaining wider international recognition.  Two independent selectors review the nominations and select between five and seven artists for the biennial exhibition and prize.

The 12 week exhibition features a body of work from each of the shortlisted artists and takes place at the National Museum of Art in Cardiff.  A separate panel of five judges awards the Artes Mundi Prize which is one of the world’s largest cash prizes in the visual arts.  From 2012, Artes Mundi will award £40,000 to the winner and £4,000 each to the other shortlisted artists. A new partnership with Mostyn will also see one of the shortlisted artists present a solo show the year after the exhibition.

The first four Artes Mundi Exhibitions have been a popular success with diverse audiences and, particularly, with young people.  Public and curatorial events and education programmes are offered in Wales during each biennial and further touring and commissioning strands are being developed.

In 2010 the Artes Mundi 4 Prize was awarded to Yael Bartana who is currently representing Poland at the 2011 Venice Biennale (June-November 2011). The first Artes Mundi Prize was awarded in 2004 to Xu Bing, a Chinese born artist living in New York. In 2006 the Artes Mundi 2 Prize was awarded to the Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and in 2008 to the Indian artist NS Harsha.

Artes Mundi is publicly funded by the Arts Council of Wales and by Cardiff City Council.

Ben Borthwick was appointed Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Artes Mundi in 2010. He is a curator and writer who specialises in international contemporary art, with particular focus on sound and socially engaged practices. During seven years at Tate Modern (2003-10) he curated exhibitions including Gilbert & George, Latifa Echakhch, Rodchenko and Popova, The Irresistible Force and Rosa Barba, and worked closely with Bruce Nauman and Doris Salcedo on their Turbine Hall commissions.

In 2008, Borthwick co-founded Butcher’s, a non-profit arts organisation that produces projects in high street locations and public spaces. Prior to Tate, he worked on a number of public art projects with Artangel, Liverpool Biennial and Henry Moore Foundation. He writes regularly for exhibition catalogues and artist publications and was a regular contributor to The Wire music magazine from 1998 to 2008.

For further information and images contact:

Carl Grainger
Artes Mundi
St John’s Chambers, High Street Arcade, Cardiff  CF10 1BD

tel: + 44 (0)29 2055 5300



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