On Sunday, the last day of art fair ArtVilnius’16, the awardees selected by the audience were announced. The audience’s favourites were Ulf Larsson’s gallery from Germany and Lithuanian artist Linas Blažiūnas.
The selection of the best galleries, artists and artworks has become a traditional part of the ArtVilnius programme. Winners under four nominations are selected by a jury composed of art critics, while visitors of the art fair cast their votes for audience’s favourite artist and gallery during all days of the art fair. This year, most of the visitors votes went to Cologne-based Ulf Larsson’s gallery and artist Linas Blažiūnas, showcased on the stand ”Akademija” of Vilnius Academy of Arts. The winners received prizes established by art fair partner Skizze.
Diplomas of the best artists and galleries of ArtVilnius leave a distinct mark in the activities of the winning artists and galleries. “Every year, winners of our art fair’s awards enjoy huge attention both from art collectors and media in Lithuania and abroad. For example, Monika Dirsytė, winner of the Best Artist audience award in ArtVilnius’15, started her international artistic career namely after the art fair. Her artistic activities caught great attention from foreign galleries and art fairs, not to mention huge media coverage”, pointed out Mrs. Diana Stomienė, director of ArtVilnius’16.
For the second year in a row, the audience choice award went to a German gallery. This year’s winner, Ulf Larsson’s gallery, captivated everyone at the art fair by its conceptual stand displaying works of three international artists: Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg (Sweden), Natarajaa (India) and Nina Pops (Serbia). Especially fascinating for most of the art fair visitors were Natarajaa’s paintings done with fire and smoke. “This is our first debut in ArtVilnius, and we are very impressed by the level of professionalism, participating galleries and artists in the art fair. Audience’s award is extremely important for us, probably more important than any other nomination. We’ll definitely participate next year, too”, said the owner of the gallery, Ulf Larsson.
Linas Blažiūnas, selected by the audience as the Best Artist, enjoyed his second award at ArtVilnius. In 2011, the artist was awarded as the Best Young Artist (under 35). Linas Blažiūnas was presented by Akademija Gallery which is one of the four galleries of Vilnius Academy of Arts (VDA) participating in ArtVilnius’16. VDA already had two Best Artists’ awards from ArtVilnius and now added Linas Blažiūnas’ award to its account.
The panel of judges selected and announced the winners in other nominations on the first day of the art fair. “Kill(ed) for Peace” by Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė, presented by VDA’s gallery Artifex, was awarded for the Best Sculpture/ Installation at ArtVilnius’16. Young gallery of architecture Nulinis Laipsnis (0º) was announced as the Best Lithuanian Gallery. Minsk-based gallery Y (Belarus) became the Best Foreign Gallery of ArtVilnius for the second year in a row.
Polish artist Zuzanna Janin, presented by Warsaw-based gallery local_30, was awarded as the Best Artist of ArtVilnius’16. The Best Young Artist’s (under 35) award at ArtVilnius’16 went to Beatričė Mockevičiūtė, presented by 5 Malūnai Gallery of the Vilnius Academy of Arts. The artist received a EUR 1,000 prize from Law Firm Cobalt.
The seventh edition of Contemporary Art Fair ArtVilnius’16 presented 60 galleries from 12 countries of the world, not to mention numerous artists participating in institutional and individual projects. Poland, the guest country of ArtVilnius’16, presented 12 most interesting art galleries and institutions of the country.