BALTIC Announces Winners of First Emerging Artists’ Award

Discover the artists chosen by Monica Bonvicini, Mike Nelson, Pedro Cabrita Reis, and Lorna Simpson.

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Courtesy BALTIC artist's prize
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Courtesy BALTIC.

The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK has announced that the four winners of its inaugural 2017 award are Jose Dávila, Eric N. Mack, Toni Schmale, and Shen Xin.

Selected individually by Monica Bonvicini, Mike Nelson, Pedro Cabrita Reis, and Lorna Simpson, the four emerging artists will each be given a 13-week exhibition at the BALTIC (to open on June 30, 2017), £25,000 ($30,665) to create new works, and a £5,000 ($6,133) artist fee.

Still, Strongholds (2016). Image Courtesy the BALTIC.

Shen Xin, Still, Strongholds (2016). Photo courtesy BALTIC.

Conceived as a platform in which to expose their practices, the artists—who work across a range of media and hail from places such as North America, Europe, and China—will be given the opportunity to collaborate with BALTIC curators and have their work seen by the tens of thousands of visitors who pass through the art center each year.

Eric N. Mack, In Definitely Felt (2016).

Eric N. Mack, In Definitely Felt (2016). Photo courtesy BALTIC.

When the exhibitions finish, audience members will be able to vote on which presentation they felt most deeply impacted by. The selected artist, who will be announced in autumn 2018, will be commissioned to create a work.

Jose Dávila, who was selected by Pedro Cabrita Reis, is a sculptor who uses common construction materials—such as boulders, glass, steel, concrete, and marble—that are kept in perfect balance, mirroring our struggle against the force of gravity.

Jose Davila, Untitled (2015). Photo: Agustín Arce. Courtesy of the artist and Travesía Cuatro.

Jose Dávila, Untitled (2015). Photo Agustín Arce, courtesy of the artist and Travesía Cuatro.

New York-based artist Eric N. Mack, chosen by Lorna Simpson, is influenced by fashion to create patchwork panels that incorporate paint with readymade fabrics. Of her decision, Simpson said, “It’s a beautiful opportunity for an up and coming artist with an amazing language.”

Toni Schmale, who was elected by Monica Bonvincini, began working as an artist after a career as a professional athlete. Her past informs her current practice, which explores the body as an individual as well as a social carrier of desire, pain, adoration, agony, and torture.

Toni Schmale, Waltraud (2016). Photo credit: Sofia Goscinski. Courtesy Christine König Galerie and the artist.

Toni Schmale, Waltraud (2016). Photo Sofia Goscinski, courtesy Christine König Galerie and the artist.

Shen Xin, originally from China but based in London, works with film to ambitiously challenge dominant power structures. On the work of his chosen artist, Mike Nelson said, “I was immediately intrigued and wrong footed—it dealt with subjects and ideologies that I knew very little of, coercing my interest and understanding.”


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