Visible Prize for Activist Art Awarded at Serpentine

6 Festival de Performance De Cali, 2006

The first Visible Prize, a new €25,000 award, was presented to Colombian art collective Helena Producciones, for their project 8 Festival de la Performance di Cali. The prize, created by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto in collaboration with the Fondazione Zegna, is dedicated to rewarding artists who aim to bring about social change.

Four finalists were selected from 27 submissions by an all-star jury: Michelangelo Pistoletto; Ute Meta Bauer, director of the visual arts programme at MIT; Hans-Ulrich Obrist, of London’s Serpentine Gallery, Okwui Enwezor; the director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich; and Andrea Zegna, the co-founder of the Fondazione Zegna.

The collaboration between Zegna and Pistoletto goes way back- the Italian company has funded Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto since its inception in 2000, with Visible, a research project curated by Angelika Burtscher and Judith Wielander, being one of FP’s more recent endeavors, and the Visible Prize being the most recent sub-project of that. Get it? Here’s that complex chain of relations in graphic form:

Zegna Foundation > Fondazione Pistoletto > CittadellArte > Visible project > Visible Prize

The Zegna Foundation, based in Trivero, Italy, aims “to give continuity to the values, philosophy and work of Ermenegildo Zegna”, who founded the wool mill there in 1910.

The Foundazione Pistoletto is “a non-profit artistic institution whose mission is “to inspire and produce responsible changes in society through creative ideas and projects”.

Cittadellarte was instituted in 1998 as a concrete action of Pistoletto’s Progetto Arte Manifesto, where the artist proposed “placing art in direct interaction with all the areas of human activity which form society.”

Visible, the project, aims to “reveal and invigorate artistic practices which have a real capacity for creating and experimenting with visions that can impact the social and cultural imagination of our contemporary world.”

With all this goodwill, money and organization, somewhere in Colombia, someone must be benefiting.

also by Bill Davenport

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