Contemporary art prize award by the DESTE Foundation

Choosing an award winner for the DESTE Prize 2009 was no easy task for the five members of the international jury which met on Monday. The six short-listed artists (Athanasios Argianas, Vangelis Vlahos, Haris Epaminonda, Rallou Panagiotou, Yiorgos Sapountzis and Eirene Efstathiou), whose work is being presented at the Museum of Cycladic Art, have all produced fine and well-thought-out projects. Some of the artists are more experienced than others but all fit the «Under-40» category that is one of the DESTE Prize’s prerequisites. After an eight-hour discussion, the members of the jury (Dakis Joannou, president of the DESTE Foundation, Lisa Phillips, director of New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, president of the foundation of the same name in Turin, Italy, Jeffrey Deitch, head of Deitch Projects in New York, and German artist Thomas Struth) chose Eirene Efstathiou, whose work includes photorealist paintings based on images taken from the media or archives. Her work investigates the relationship between public image and personal memory. In the jury’s official announcement, Lisa Phillips said that Efstathiou’s work is distinctive and passionate and «has an intimacy and ability to take on larger issues, such as shared experience, public memory and social organization.» She also said that the works of the six short-listed artists are all unique but complementary and that the «reconsideration and reconstruction of history» is a common theme. This is the 10th year of the DESTE Prize, an award that is is considered prestigious recognition of an artist’s work. The works of the six short-listed artists are on view at the Museum of Cycladic Art (1 Neofytou Douka, tel 210.722.8321) through September 30.