Henkel Arts Prize Awarded to Romanian Artist Utl.: Contribution to European Integration =
Vienna, November 2002 - The first ever Henkel Arts Prize for contemporary drawing has been awarded to a Romanian artist. The jury selected Dan Perjovschi of Romania to be the recipient of this year�'s competition after having evaluated a total of 182 works of art submitted from 15 countries. Henkel Central Eastern Europe originally set up the contest, which first took place this year, to support artists in Central and Eastern Europe. The prize for contemporary art, which amounts to 5000 Euro, aims to improve understanding of the CEE geographical region and cultural area, as well as make a contribution to the process of European integration. The Young Artists Prize created by Henkel was won by Szabolcs KissPál, an artist living and working in Hungary. This award is designed to promote young aspiring artists participating in the "Artists in Residence" programme of KulturKontakt Austria.
The focus of the Henkel Arts Prize for contemporary drawing, initiated by Henkel Central Eastern Europe (Henkel CEE), is to raise awareness of Central and Eastern Europe as a culturally significant area.
Henkel CEE has successfully persuaded KulturKontakt Austria to serve as a partner in this project. KulturKontakt Austria has been managing arts projects in Central and Eastern Europe for the last ten years. Each year, it invites applicants from Eastern European countries to take part in its "Artists in Residence" programme. Interface for Central and Eastern Europe
Henkel CEE based in Vienna has established itself within the world-wide Henkel Group as the regional headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe. Henkel's success story in Central and Eastern Europe began in 1984 with the company's first pilot export project from Austria to the east. Since the founding of its first subsidiary in Hungary in 1987, Henkel has set up 50 other companies in the CEE region. The company has invested more than 174 million Euro to date in order to expand its business operations in these emerging markets.
Today, Henkel CEE serves as the parent company coordinating the activities of 12 holding companies and 14 production locations, and is responsible for the markets in 15 countries with a total of 185 million inhabitants. In addition to Austria, these are: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. Henkel CEE employs a total of 4,543 people, who generated revenues of 746 million Euro in the year 2001.
Mental Affinity, Geographical Proximity
"In addition to an expert knowledge of the region, our mental affinity and geographical proximity have been key factors contributing to our success," says Mr. Friedrich Stara, President of Henkel Central Eastern Europe.
Henkel CEE has made use of these competitive advantages to initiate the Henkel Arts Prize for contemporary drawing for the Central and Eastern European cultural region.
"An important aspect of the principles guiding the way we operate has not only been our efforts to be economically successful in the emerging CEE markets, but to act as a "good citizen" and get involved in the social issues facing the society in these countries," Mr. Stara adds.
It was by no means an easy task for the jury to choose the winner of the art award from 182 works which were submitted. The jury consisted of Liviana Dam from the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, Romania; Gregor Podnar from the Skuc Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Rainer Fuchs, the Managing Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Ludwig Foundation of Vienna, the artist Eric Neunteufel and Ms. Sabine Schauer, Communications Manager for Henkel Central Eastern Europe. They evaluated the works of art before finally deciding to award the prize to Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi.
Drawing as a Critical Commentary
"Dan Perjovschi uses drawing as an instrument to deal with socially relevant issues. Among many tools, he utilizes books and posters to convey images. He has created a type of applied drawing which also represents a critical commentary on portraying drawing as a decorative and expressive form of art," according to Rainer Fuchs, spokesperson of the jury.
"For Mr. Perjovschi, drawing is a medium of circulation within society. He does not limit it to the idea of creating an irreplaceable, unique and original work of art. He follows the tradition of comics and cartoons, linking precise observations of everyday life with ironic commentary," Mr. Fuchs adds.
The drawing and text each serve to comment simultaneously in both a critical and playful manner. Contrary to the conventional attitude towards drawing which considers it to encompass a sketch and then a draft, Perjovschi�'s drawings have their own intrinsic value, which means they cannot simply be replaced or improved by something else. This approach distances itself from traditional and stereotyped concepts of drawing, thus opening up new perspectives, opportunities and legitimacy.
Dan Perjovschi was born in Sibiu, and studied at the Kunstakademie Iasi (lasi Academy of Art). Perjovschis preferred form of art is drawing, which also incorporates installation, performance and video.
Henkel CEE also established another award - its Young Artists Prize amounting to 3000 Euro - in order to further support aspiring young artists. Mr. Szabolcs KissPál, an artist who lives in Hungary, was selected from a group totalling 12 artists who had each won the chance to participate in the Artists in Residence programme of KulturKontakt Austria. In addition to receiving a three-month scholarship for Vienna from KulturKontakt Austria, Szabolcs KissPál was also awarded the 3000 Euro prize donated by Henkel CEE.
Henkel CEE headquartered in Vienna is one of the most successful companies for brand name products in Central and Eastern Europe. Henkel CEE is market leader for hair care products, adhesives and surface technologies and has a top position in the market for detergents and cleansers as well as for cosmetics. In the year 2001, Henkel CEE posted revenues of 746 million Euro, with a work force of 4,453 people.