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Since its new location was opened in 2008, the Museion has worked continuously to support the creativity of young artists, especially with regard to the local scene.
In fact, thanks to the support of the Cassa di Risparmio di Bolzano Foundation, an award was launched in 2008 that allowed a number of young artists from the Alto Adige region (Michael Fliri, Brave New Alps, Philipp Messner, and Ignaz Cassar) to take up residency for several months at the Centre international d’accueil et d’échanges des Récollets in Paris, as part of the Artist Residency Program organized by the Dena Foundation for Contemporary Art, and in Warsaw at The Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle.
At the same time, the Museion consistently involved young international and local artists in its temporary and collection exhibition program and in various other formats and partnerships, ranging from the Museion at the Eurac Tower to the Garutti Cube and the art projections on its media façade.
In 2011, in collaboration with the Südtiroler Künstlerbund and the Transart Festival a project was set up for a biennial award for talented young multimedia artists from the North Tyrol, South Tyrol, and Trentino regions. Thanks to this initiative, works by Codice Ivan, Leander Schwazer, Caroline Profanter, and Ulrike Bernard were added to the Museion’s collection.
In 2012, when the Museion Passage was opened, not only did the museum demonstrate its desire to include and work together with all the people taking an active role in the contemporary culture of the South Tyrol area, it also led to the creation of an experimental space known as the Project Room. Specifically designed to present new projects, this space on the ground floor of the Museion quickly became a well-known platform for discovering and launching young artists.
The artists that have displayed their work in the Project Room include Francesco Arena, Vera Comploj, Rä Di Martino, Judith Fegerl, Chiara Fumai, Leopold Kessler, Hubert Kostner, Sonia Leimer, Gabriela Oberkofler, Diego Perrone, Sven Sachsalber, and Leander Schwazer.
In 2015, this willingness to constantly search for new formats and stimulate interaction with young creative talents led to the creation of the Museion Prize. Sponsored by the Austrian entrepreneur, Hans Peter Haselsteiner, in collaboration with the Museion, the award seeks to promote and sustain young artists aged under thirty-five who have embarked on important artistic and research paths. In line with its policy of being an institution that is both aware of and involved with the cultures around it, the Museion has opened the award to artists operating in Italy (and particularly in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano / Bozen), Switzerland, and Austria.
In line with this vision, the directors of the AMACI (Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums) as well as directors from various contemporary art institutions in Austria and Switzerland were asked to take part in the first stage of the nominations. The latter were invited to put forward an artist aged under thirty-five and a large artwork or installation that had been created in the last two years. An international jury made up of Beatrix Ruf (Director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam), Giovanni Carmine (Director of the Kunst Halle St. Gallen), Karola Kraus (Director of the Mumok Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna), and Diana Baldon (Director of the Malmö Konsthall, up until May 2016) then selected three finalists who were invited to display their work at the Museion. A fourth finalist was also added in a joint nomination made by the directors of ar/ge kunst, Kunst Meran/o Arte, and the Museion. The winning finalist, who will receive a 10,000 euro prize and whose work will be bought for the Museion collection, will be selected when the exhibition has been opened by the same international jury mentioned above. Here, many thanks go to Frida Carazzato, curatorial assistant at the Museion, who supervised the entire competition procedure and curated the exhibition of the finalists.
The aim of Museion Prize is not only to bring young artists to the attention of the general public, but also to stimulate other artists by the high quality of the works on display.
Despite the mobility and numerous opportunities for promotion offered by internet and social media that young Millennial Generation artists enjoy, the chance to benefit from the support of a contemporary art museum is still an important step in their career. A museum that focuses on contemporary art and has an international program offers a number of important channels to artists, starting from the chance to display their works in its own exhibition spaces. It is precisely for this reason that the Museion took up Hans Peter Haselsteiner’s generous offer with such enthusiasm and organized the first edition of the prize so professionally and with such a wide range of experts.
We are looking forward to presenting Museion Prize 1 and we hope that many other editions will follow, even though the Museion will certainly not abandon its constant search for new ways of sustaining and promoting young people’s art.