The members of the jury are:

  • Kersten Geers, architect and co-founder of OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen,
  • Sophie Lauwers, Director Arts & Policy – BOZAR,
  • Bernard Marcelis, Historian and art critic, independent curator,
  • Michel Moortgat, CEO Duvel Moortgat, art collector,
  • Giuliana Setari Carusi, President Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto and Dena Foundation for Contemporary Art, art collector,
  • Philippe Van Cauteren, Artistic Director of the S.M.A.K. – Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent and
  • Sylvie Winckler, art collector.

The Jury’s decision to select Sven Augustijnen, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Gabriel Kuri and the artist duo Jos De Gruyter & Harald Thys is based on the subtle stratification and colourful diversity of Belgium’s contemporary art scene. These four artists were selected for the analytical and spatial nature of their artistic practice. Each and every one of them has found in Belgium an inspirational place to work in a focused manner. The Jury is convinced that the international visibility and reputation of the four laureates of the BelgianArtPrize can also be consonant with their grounding in Belgium.

On 21 May 2018, the artists Sven Augustijnen, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys and Gabriel Kuri informed the organisers of the BelgianArtPrize of their decision to collectively withdraw from the 2019 BelgianArtPrize. As previously indicated in their statement, the artists are acting in response to the publication of an open letter and a petition that was launched on 10 May. The open letter raised questions about the uniformity of the selection of finalists for the 2019 BelgianArtPrize. In so doing, the artists hope that the very essence of the prize, namely to support and highlight the importance of art, will once more be brought to the fore.

The organisers of the prize respect and endorse the values expressed in the open letter. They too are against all forms of discrimination and in favour of encouraging a widespread debate on the social, social-political and/or cultural issues in our society.

The not-for-profit association De Jonge Belgische Schilderkunst/La Jeune Peinture Belge understands the artists’ position, but regrets their decision nonetheless. The prevailing societal debate is independent of the intrinsic artistic value of their work.

The jury stresses that it stands by its decision to select these four artists.

During their deliberations, the jury members examined the career and works of the selected artists. They were not asked to apply quotas, to consider age, to respect male/female or language ratios, or take nationality or other non-artistic aspects into account.

The association also endorses the jury’s decision and how it arrived at this decision, in a professional and well-considered manner.

Consequently, the organisers of the BelgianArtPrize have decided not to award the prize in 2019. They regret that the artists are unable to work serenely due to the current pressure of a social debate that does not target them directly, but of which they are nonetheless the victims. “Victims” in the sense that they are prevented from creating, exhibiting and earning national and international recognition for their new work.