Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2024

Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2024

The international jury selected two individual artists and one artist collective for the Jindřich Chalupecký Award 2024. As part of the 35th year of the most important Czech award for establishing artists, Oskar Helcel, Judita Levitnerová and the group No Fun Collective were awarded. This year’s selection of laureates has been narrowed from five to three, and the age limit of 35 has been abolished. Those who began their careers at a later age or who for some reason had to abandon art for a time and are only now returning to it also had the opportunity to apply. By dropping the age limit, the Jindřich Chalupecký Society is reflecting changes in exhibition and institutional practices that have been occurring for several years already. This change also corresponds with the development and current state of the international art scene.

A joint exhibition of the 2024 laureates will take place from 8 November at the Moravian Gallery in Brno. The exhibition, which this year will be curated by Ondřej Chrobák from the Moravian Gallery in cooperation with the JCHS curatorial collective, will open on November 7, together with the project of this year's international guest, the established Kuwaiti visual artist Monira Al Qadiri. Spanning sculpture, installation, film and performance, Al Qadiri's multifaceted practice is mainly based on research into the cultural histories of the Gulf region. Her interpretation of the Gulf's so-called "petro-culture" is manifested through speculative scenarios that take inspiration from science fiction, autobiography, traditional practices and pop culture, resulting in uncanny and covertly subversive works.

Jury

The international jury composed of  Charles Esche (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Hana Janečková (curator and pedagogue at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague), Valentinas Klimašauskas (independent curator and writer), Marika Kupková (curator and theoretician operating at the TIC gallery in Brno), Sráč Sam (artist, founder and curator of Sam 83 gallery in Česká Bříza) and Fatoş Üstek (curator and theoretician based in Great Britain) was selecting out of the total number of 128 portfolios sent by artists presenting their work on the local art scene. This is the highest number of applications compared to previous years. The international jury was impressed by the quality of all of the works, the variety of methods, and their overlaps from fine art into other artistic disciplines, such as theatre, film making, crafts, design and music. The laureates include one collective of artists, one female artist, and one male artist. Their approaches and processes are very different, but they are united by certain themes and above all by their topicality, which resonates not only in the contemporary art world but in society in general.

"We’ve had a specific focus on bringing a wide range of practices, hence we have chosen artists working with objects and textiles as well as video and gaming. We think all three positions further the inquiry into contemporary forms of social engagement and activation, pre- and post-industrial traditions, and critical stances toward regenerative practices in the environment built by humans.", say the jurors in their joined statement.

Laureates

Oskar Helcel demonstrates a flair for cinematic language in his work, critically portraying the theme of architecture in the era of late capitalism. His knack for capturing atmosphere and situations with the camera, his authentic and natural performance, and his visual montages reveal the different layers and intricacy of the issue he is exploring. His performative video essays thus depict the complexity of the topic of so-called “developerism,” which the artist perceives as a tool for the reproduction of capitalism, the privatization of cities for the purposes of profit and gentrification.

In her practice, Judita Levitnerová returns to tradition, crafts, and the issue of “women’s work.” Her work with textiles is creative and thoughtful and makes direct reference to the Czech informel period, from which she derives her authentic approach. However, her work does not neglect aspects such as ecology, the excessive consumption of textiles, or unethical working conditions. She herself chooses the path of so-called “slow art,” which also raises the question of the transience and permanence of a given piece. She situates her textile works in public spaces, where she employs a sense of playfulness in the method of installation.

No Fun Collective is an artistic and research-based queer video game collective working in the context of Central and Eastern Europe. Through their work and activities, they subvert video game stereotypes and strive for the inclusion of repressed perspectives. The jury appreciated their ability to bring digital technologies into a social context. They use gaming narrative as a means of creating new alternative and emancipatory environments. Through their work, they show how it is possible to approach diversity and why it is important for every society and its everyday life and functioning.