Exhibition — 18 Jun until 14 Aug 2004

1st prize: Mariana Castillo Deball, 2nd prize: Derk Thijs. Basic-awards: Anant Joshi and Marijn van Kreij.

The Prix de Rome is a Dutch national prize intended to encourage talented young visual artists and architects. Each round focuses on contributing to the development of different fields in the visual arts and architecture in The Netherlands.

This year the focus was on graphic art and drawing. The annual exhibition and presentation of the Prix de Rome takes place in the Stedelijk Museum CS. The discipline that is in the spotlight this time is drawing and graphic work. The nominations are the result of two preliminary rounds; the winner has been chosen on the basis of work, created in the period from January to April, 2004.

Anant Joshi (b. 1969, Nagpur, India) Joshi left India for the first time in 2002 for his period of work at the Rijksacademie for the visual arts in Amsterdam. The enormous volume of impressions that he encountered were difficult to process; the meaning and range of all those images was hard to grasp. By changing the way he looked at the world and worked, he tried to give the feeling of chaos a place, in the course of which it very quickly appeared that it revived old experiences from his past. What he had sought to avoid - indefinable floating between two cultures - happened anyway. So he decided that his work for the Prix de Rome thus had to deal with the problem of the passant and the constant shuttling between two cultures. The Prix de Rome exhibition will reveal how he has given shape to this.

Derk Thijs (b. 1977, Amsterdam)
Not long before Thijs put his name down for this Prix de Rome he stopped painting on canvass. The freedom that this gave him produced a stream of new ideas. He began to draw, particularly on walls. In the second round of the jurying, Thijs made a convincing presentation with his enormous paintings on brown/grey wrapping paper: simple images, without detail, of black figures in all kinds of situations. Their simplicity possesses an enormous power. During the Prix de Rome work period he has sought forms and means of all sorts to further supplement his visual language, especially because he is seeking an answer to the question of whether it is possible to create a unity in modern diversity, or whether various realities can exist next to one another. These are questions which ‘compel’ him to keep everything as open as possible and preserve space in his work.

Marijn van Kreij (b. 1978, Berlicum)
Van Kreij has a good feeling for image and the balance between recognition and confusion that the combination of images can call up. His manner of working gives rise to an almost chaotic whole of lines, fragments and colours. He scans photographs of interiors, theatre auditoriums, etc., in such a way as to reduce the photographs to line drawings. He prints these drawings on transparent sheets which he then projects. He next traces over these projections in various colours. Van Kreij succeeds in summoning up a strong feeling of unity in this chaos. The form and composition tally. For the Prix de Rome he has developed this further, and alongside the monumental works that have arisen from this he is also at work on a series of small drawings, drawing, scratching and copying text in various colours on A4 size sheets.

Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975, Mexico)
The Institute of Chance, which Castillo  established especially for the final round of the Prix de Rome, is about arranging and archiving, the distribution of data and the disruption of systems. Her interest in anarchism brought her in touch with the International Institute for Social History, which specialises in storing information on all conceivable schools of thought and social movements. A box of unidentified photographs particularly attracted her attention. These photographs had managed to evade the Institute’s system. The combination of Castillo’s interests and found non-system gave her the idea of disorganising a particular group of people.

The short texts above are edited versions of the texts by Hans den Hartog Jager, to appear in the publication Prix de Rome 2004 Drawing/Graphics, which will be presented to Ms. M.C. van der Laan, Secretary of State for Culture and Media, on June 17.

This year the jury is comprised of David Bade (NL), Marcel van Eeden (NL), Antonio Muntadas (Spain/US), Catherine de Zegher (Belgium/US), Agata Zwierzyñska (Poland/NL) and Janwillem Schrofer (non-voting chairman).