From Drug Violence in Mexico to the World of Reality TV, It's Another Eclectic Mix of Nominees for the Artes Mundi; SEVEN NAMED IN RACE FOR UK'S TOP CONTEMPORARY ART PRIZE
Byline: KAREN PRICE
DRUG violence in Mexico and reality TV are just two of the topics explored by the seven artists in the running for this year's pounds 40,000 Artes Mundi Prize.
The shortlist for the fifth award - the UK's biggest contemporary art award which has been labelled "the Welsh Turner Prize" - is unveiled today.
Wales is not represented this year, but those competing for the international prize are Miriam Bckstr|m (Sweden), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Phil Collins (England), Sheela Gowda (India), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Darius MikUys (Lithuania) and Apolonija euUterUic (Slovenia).
The artists - who were chosen by two selectors from more than 750 nominations worldwide - will now work towards a major 14-week exhibition at the new National Museum of Art in Cardiff this autumn and the winner will be announced in November.
Artes Mundi showcases artists concerned with the human condition. For example, Collins, who was born in Runcorn but is now based in Berlin, offers reality TV contestants a platform to examine their "manipulation" by the media.
The former Turner Prize nominee takes a performance-based and conceptual approach to video and photography.
And through a blend of sculpture, installation and performance, Mexican artist Margolles focuses on the turmoil faced in her homeland where drug-related organised crime has resulted in widespread violence and murder.
Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi's chief executive and artistic director, said: "We are delighted with the exceptional quality of this shortlist, which was drawn from a very strong field of nominations.
"I look forward to welcoming the artists to Wales and creating an exhibition in October that will give audiences the opportunity to engage with the most exciting international contemporary art."
Artes Mundi was launched in Wales in 2003. It was founded by Welsh artist William Wilkins, who wanted to see a visual arts competition from Wales having as much of a global impact as the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World contest.
It has fast grown into one of the largest art prizes in the world and runs every two years, aiming to give greater coverage to international artists.
Mr Wilkins has previously said: "With this prize, I wanted to bring the world to Wales and Wales to the world. The sourcing of fascinating artists from around the globe and the involvement of key international sponsors is a mark of how seriously this project is taken." The first Artes Mundi prize was won by Chinese artist Xu Bing, who impressed judges with a piece of work which was made from dust collected from the streets of Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks.
The 2010 winner was Israeli artist Yael Bartana who creates visualisations with photography, film, video, sound and installation.
After receiving this year's nominations, two selectors - Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy and Anders Kreuger - travelled the globe to devise their shortlist of seven.
Kreuger, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, said: "Shortlisting for Artes Mundi has been an honour - and a responsibility to be taken seriously.
"We have chosen seven very different, but equally talented artists, of different generations and from all across the globe, to exhibit at National Museum of Art this autumn."
While the exhibitions have always been held …
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Publication information: Article title: From Drug Violence in Mexico to the World of Reality TV, It's Another Eclectic Mix of Nominees for the Artes Mundi; SEVEN NAMED IN RACE FOR UK'S TOP CONTEMPORARY ART PRIZE. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales). Publication date: January 26, 2012. Page number: 20. © 2009 MGN Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.