Since 1950, the non-profit association La Jeune Peinture Belge, a group of art-lovers, professionals and collectors, has organised in close collaboration with the Centre for Fine Arts/BOZAR a biennial art prize that stimulates talented leading artists living and working in Belgium, contributing to the development of their career and international visibility.
On April 17, 2019, the members of the jury shortlisted four candidates for the BelgianArtPrize 2019:
SVEN AUGUSTIJNEN, KOENRAAD DEDOBBELEER, GABRIEL KURI and JOS DE GRUYTER & HARALD THYS
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 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. The organisers of the BelgianArtPrize, together with the jury and artists, are currently developing a statement that focuses on what really matters, namely art, artistic work, freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
We’ll keep you updated!
In 2020 the BelgianArtPrize launches a new edition whilst celebrating at the same time its 70th anniversary.
The BelgianArtPrize aims at supporting Belgian and international artists residing in Belgium for at least a year, and strengthen their national and international recognition.
15.03.2019 – 26.05.2019
The artistic statement of the 4 nominate artists will be unveiled at the
Centre for Fine Arts
Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels
Info: +32 2 507 82 00