This is the fifth edition of the Best Media Arts Graduation Projects Competition, organized by the WRO Art Center together with the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław.
This year’s exhibition, held as part of the WRO 2019 Media Art Biennale, is titled AKCES. It consists of the best graduation projects selected by competition committees at eight Polish tate art academies: in Gdańsk, Katowice, Krakow, Łódź, Poznań, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław.
The main prize was awarded by an international jury: Olga Majcen (HR),Peter Zorn ( DE) and Jakub Majmurek (PL). The jury statement was announced on May 16.
The project of competition, developed since 2015, creates a platform for cooperation and exchange of experiences between centers/academies on various models of education in the field of art using different media. The event emphasizes the importance of media art as a teaching field within contemporary art, it is also focused on the promotion of students and graduates.
As in previous years, the exhibition is accompanied by a two-day scientific conference, this time organized by the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk under the direction of dr. Jarosław Czarnecki – Elvin Flamingo, referring to the main theme of the Biennale with the title HUMAN ASPECT / UN-HUMAN ASPECT. Education and experiment.
AKCES is an exhibition of young artists: students and brand-new graduates of Media Art faculties at Polish art universities.
At the same time, this year marks the 5th Competition for Media Art Graduation Projects. Over the last five years, the WRO Art Center has collaborated with the Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw to hold annual shows of the best works developed at Poland’s leading eight public art schools based in Gdansk, Katowice, Cracow, Lodz, Poznan, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wroclaw.
Titled AKCES, this year’s exhibition is part of the 2019 WRO Biennale, which gives the young artists an opportunity to make their debut on an international stage, to face demanding audiences, and to present their works to curators, critics, and representatives of galleries and international art institutions. The international jury selects the best project on display, awarding it the prize funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The viewers also pick up their favorite. Besides the satisfaction it affords, the Audience Award has its monetary value as it is funded by the Rectors of the universities involved in the Competition. The show itself features pre-selected exhibits. At each of the art schools, the choice is made beforehand by a panel including independent members of the artistic milieu, a representative of the school, and WRO curators. The panels are committed to an objective selection process in which the entries are winnowed to the most interesting and potent graduation projects that make it to the exhibition.
Over the five years of the Competition, the best graduation works have varied widely, ranging from video installations, computer animations and social media interventions, to interactive and generative projects, audiovisual concerts and works from the intersection of bio-art and neuronal networks, to practices manipulating cosplay aesthetics and computer game conventions. This heterogeneity highlights the increasing importance of media tools in contemporary art and their centrality in channeling reflection on the times we inhabit.
While the AKCES exhibition embodies a similar formal, thematic, and media diversity, the artworks it features clearly convey a distrust of artistic media as such. They indicate that the young artists cautiously examine both digital and environmental developments and risks as they seek to express their identities not only vis-à-vis the artistic conjuncture but also in wary negotiations with the historical, if not national, convention. Symptomatically, the print is revisited as a relevant artistic medium. Since the artists avoid amassing a plethora of media components, their tendency to rely on the potential inherent in the reduction of expressive means, the formal dispersal, and the receptivity to context suggests that, in general terms, this year’s exhibition stages a revival of critical, distrustful and inquisitive attitudes typical of the intermedial tradition.