Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2022 goes to Bojana Pejić – Announcements

Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2022 goes to Bojana Pejić – Announcements


Bojan Pejić, art historian, art writer, and curator is named this year’s Igor Zabel Award Laureate. 2022 Igor Zabel Award Grants go to Oksana Briukhovetska, Alina Șerban, and Antonina Stebur.

The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory acknowledges the exceptional achievements of cultural workers whose work supports, develops, or investigates visual art and culture in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

The 2022 Igor Zabel Award jury awards Bojana Pejić (born in Belgrade 1948, based in Berlin) for her lifelong research into the constituent elements of Eastern European art and culture. Her writings, and particularly her complex international exhibitions such as After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe (1999–2001) and Gender Check: Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe (2009–2010), have had worldwide impact, critically marking our understanding of art during state socialism and also providing critical analysis of post-socialist culture after 1989. Pejić orchestrates transnational teams or works alone as she surveys what Eastern European countries have in common , and how their art makes visible the history, nationalism, and gender politics. She is an art historian and also an activist for whom academia is never sufficient. Pejić compels us to reread our past in order to change our common future.

2022 Igor Zabel Award Grant recipients

–Oksana Briukhovetskaartist, curator, and art writer (Kyiv / Michigan, USA) for her outstanding contribution to the artistic and activist life in Ukraine and beyond; her work triggers processes of democratization under the most demanding circumstances and raises feminist awareness.

–Alina Șerbanart historian, art writer, curator, and editor (Bucharest) in recognition of her exceptional research and ability to create self-managed organizations and platforms that bring together Central and Eastern European researchers and cultural workers.

–Antonina Steburcurator, art writer, and researcher (Minsk, currently living between Poland and Germany) in recognition of her extraordinary power of resistance, commitment to decolonize Belarusian art, and her belief that art is a practical instrument of political imagination.

The award is not by application. A three-member international jury selects the laureate and recipients of three grants based on proposals given by 10 nominators.

2022 jury: Marta Dziewańska (philosopher and curator, Kunstmuseum Bern), Ahmet Öğüt (artist, Berlin / Amsterdam), Tomáš Pospiszyl (art historian and curator, Prague)

2022 nominators: Luchezar Boyadjiev, Olga Chernysheva, Anetta Mona Chisa, iLiana Fokianaki, Dóra Hegyi, Inga Lāce, Lena Prents, Kate Sutton, Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu, Klara Kemp-Welch

Named in honour of the distinguished Slovenian curator and art historian Igor Zabel (1958–2005), the award has been conferred biennially since 2008 in cooperation with the initiator of the award, ERSTE Foundation (Vienna), and the Igor Zabel Association (Ljubljana) . With prize money totalling 76,000 EUR, it is one of the highest and most prestigious prizes for cultural activities related to Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

The 2022 award and grant recipients will be presented through lively conversation at the award ceremony: 18 November 2022 at 20:00 CET, Cukrarna Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Accompanying programme, held as part of the Igor Zabel Award 2022:

So Close: Ecologies of Life and Death, international conference

Thursday, 17 November 2022, 14:30–19:15 CET, CD Club, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana + stream: via Igor Zabel Association YT Channel // via e-flux (Link)

Speakers: Maja and Reuben Fowkes, Thom van Dooren, Šejla Kamerić, Marietta Radomska, Boštjan Videmšek, and Mick Wilson

The international conference So Close: Ecologies of Life and Death approaches the future of life on our planet from the perspective of life’s end by drawing attention to reconsiderations of loss, decline, mourning, and death. In this way, it seeks to transcend the binary of, on the one hand, dystopian pessimism about the future and, on the other, utopian optimism in the all-powerful human capacity to overcome the end.


Partners: Igor Zabel Association, ERSTE Foundation, and MGML / Cukrarna Gallery.


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