Café Chalupecký: Round Table of Jindřich Chalupecký Society
An open discussion with the holders and finalists of Jindřich Chalupecký Award, jury members and representatives of the up-and-coming generation of artists about the values of the Award, how it has contributed to the personal development of the individual artists and what the art scene expects from it today. The event was held to provide a space for a constructive debate which can help the Society reflect on itself and plan for the future. The participating award holders and finalists included Barbora Kleinhamplová, Pavel Sterec, Martin Kohout and Richard Loskot; other guests included Edith Jeřábková, Šárka Koudelová, Marie Lukáčová, Šimon Kadlčák, Jiří Žák and Jiří Kovanda.
Themes for Discussion
How do you perceive the meaning and value of Jindřich Chalupecký Award in the past 28 years; how has its position on the art scene changed?
Is it necessary to announce the winner every year? Should the competition cycle be longer (two years)? >> Since 1990, the award holder has been announced every year.
Should there be a system change within the Award? For instance: reducing the number of finalists, cancelling a single winner, lowering or raising the age limit etc.? >> According to the current rules, the jury annually selects five finalists among which a single award holder is selected. At the time of the Final exhibition and award ceremony, the finalists must fall within the age limit of 35. The award holder cannot apply for the competition any longer.
In what way should the young artists ideally apply for the competition? Should they keep presenting their portfolios? Do you agree with their appearing in the final several times? >> Currently, there is a multi-level mechanism: Jindřich Chalupecký Society approaches a broad network of nominators (curators, teachers) across the Czech Republic who can nominate particular artists. These are then informed by the Society about their nomination and asked to apply for the next edition of the Award. However, the artists can apply without being nominated by another person as well. Nevertheless, the artists always apply for themselves, even if they were nominated by somebody else. Currently they do so via the online platform works.io where they can start a free standardized portfolio. The finalists are then selected by the jury primarily based on the portfolios. Artists can apply for the Award repeatedly, even if they have already been in the final before.
Who should be in the jury? Should it include more international or Czech experts? Who would you like to see in the future jury; in general (for instance representatives of other art fields etc.) and in particular? Should the Czech part of the jury explain the context to the international jurors and use their knowledge of the local scene to go beyond the portfolios? >> According to the current model, the jury comprises seven experts; three Czech and four international ones. The jury should include a balanced ratio of men and women. The jurors are usually internationally respected curators, representatives of art institutions relevant for the Czech scene, as well as leading artists. The jury meets once a year to select the current award holder as well as five finalists for the next edition. The jury members are nominated by the Administrative Board of Jindřich Chalupecký Society. The jury is independent and the Society representatives do not enter the decision-making process.
To what extent should the jury focus on the Final project and to what extent should it consider the overall quality of the work of the individual finalists when selecting the award holder?
What should be the format of the Final presentation? What do you think about the format of a common exhibition of all finalists conceived by the curator? Does it make sense to stick to the presentation of new projects made especially for the Final? >> Currently, each finalist usually creates a new project/work for the Final exhibition. The exhibition is prepared in cooperation with the curator/s (currently those from the team of Jindřich Chalupecký Society; we are planning the participation of visiting curators for the future) who gradually consult the upcoming projects with the finalists. The artists do not get a particular assigned exhibition space; their works can meet at the exhibition within various constellations.
What should the award bring the holder today and in the future? Is a residency in New York City and funding for a project realized in the following year/s still relevant? What “service” should the Society provide to the award holders (finalists)? Should the award holders and finalists receive a financial award unrelated to the project (for instance in the form of a one-year creative scholarship) or should the Society rather provide a workspace for them (one-year studio)? >> The award holder traditionally receives a two-month international residency; currently in New York City in cooperation with Residency Unlimited. Currently, the Society gives the award holder a budget (now 100.000 CZK) for a project of their choice (exhibition, publication etc.) realized in the following year/s. The Society tries to find a suitable space (ideally abroad) for the award holder as well as partners for the presentation of their project and gives them conceptual and curatorial support.
Do we need greater diversity in terms of gender and nationality? How can it be reached? Does it make sense today to limit the Award to the Czech environment only? How to define when a foreign artist is sufficiently “at home” on the Czech scene? >> Artists of any nationality can apply for the Award on the condition that they have been “active on the Czech art scene on a long-term basis”. As for gender, there are no rules for the men/women ratio in the final; however, each year, the jury is encouraged to at least consider the gender question in their selection.
Should the finalists be encouraged to a mutual collaboration or to a collaboration with artists outside the finalist group? How are the limits of authorship then to be defined? Is it possible for a finalist to invite another artist (who was not selected by the jury) for the project/realization of their work; will they both receive the award?
How do you perceive the interconnection of Jindřich Chalupecký Award and the institutions of the National Gallery in Prague and the Moravian Gallery in Brno? Should the Award cooperate with other institutions in the future, or aspire to run its own exhibition space/be active in non-gallery spaces etc.? >> Currently, the Final of the Award is held in cooperation with the two above mentioned institutions; the exhibition is presented alternately in Prague and in Brno.