Prix de Rome Visual Arts

Artists Ghita Skali, Jonas Staal, Josefin Arnell and Michael Tedja have been nominated for the Prix de Rome Visual Arts 2023. They created new work especially for the prize, which can be seen from October 14 2023 in the exhibition of the same name in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The winner will be announced on October 31.

The four nominees received a working budget to create new work, which can be seen in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam from October 14, 2023. The jury will choose the final winner based on the new work and the oeuvre of the artists. The awards ceremony is on October 31. The winning artist will be rewarded with a € 40,000 contribution and the opportunity to participate in a residency of their choice.

The jury selected Skali, Staal, Arnell and Tedja from 321 artists who registered for the award. In a change to previous editions, no age limit was in place for applicants.

The shortlist

(left) Ghita Skali. Photograph: Henna Hyvärinen. (right) Ghita Skali, Ambition for the Best (film still), 2020.

Ghita Skali
Casablanca, Morocco, 1992, lives and works in Amsterdam

Ghita Skali has a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses installations, videos and interventions. Ghita uses odd news, rumours and propaganda to disrupt institutional power structures, such as the Western contemporary art world, state oppression and government politics. Her work blends humour and critique, and reaches beyond the art world.

In her work, Ghita Skali criticizes the selection procedure of the art prizes and of the Prix de Rome in particular. Until mid-20th century, participants were required to pass an exam at the Rijksakademie (State Academy of Fine Arts) behind closed doors. The sequestered artists were receiving food and materials through hatches in the door. One such doors features in Skali’s work for the Prix de Rome 2023. To the artist, it symbolises the ostensible appearance of equal opportunities behind art prizes, whereas this system is exclusionary and discriminatory.

(left) Jonas Staal. Photograph: Ruben Hamelink. (right) Radha D’Souza and Jonas Staal, Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes, 2021. Framer Framed Amsterdam. Photograph: Ruben Hamelink.

Jonas Staal
Zwolle, the Netherlands, 1981, lives and works in Rotterdam

In his work, Jonas Staal explores the relationship between art, propaganda and democracy. The artist analyses and questions the world of today, and its dominant power regimes. Using artistic and theoretical manifestations – including public interventions, exhibitions, video studies and publications – Jonas simultaneously presents new democratic models to help create a more solidary world.

For the Prix de Rome 2023, Jonas Staal continues his artistic exploration of (neo)colonial propaganda through the centuries. He focuses on Ascension, a volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean. Staal uses video, a sculptural model and a diary from 1728 to explain how the island was formed by colonial, industrial and exploitative power structures; from an open-air prison for an exiled Dutch East India Company crew member to the geoengineering of the ecosystem and the construction of satellite dishes for planetary surveillance.

(left) Josefin Arnell. Photograph: Lukas Heistinger. (right) Josefin Arnell, Wild Filly Story, 2021. UKS Oslo. Photograph: Vegard Kleven.

Josefin Arnell
Ljusnedal, Sweden, 1984, lives and works in Amsterdam

Josefin Arnell’s primary medium is film, but she often diverges into physical disciplines including drawing, performance and installation art. Her work straddles the boundary between documentary and fiction, with protagonists finding their way in a contemporary world with impossible demands. Josefin often uses personages without acting experience in her films, capturing the rawness of unattainable desire, perfectionism and control.

For the Prix de Rome 2023, Josefin Arnell is working with visitors and staff at the Amsterdam community centre De Witte Boei to create a film in which fantasy and fiction pierce through everyday life. In the context of housing shortages and welfare cuts, Arnell questions what it means to be a ‘good’ citizen. The artist uses storytelling to fire the visitor’s imagination and highlight the reality of life in the neighbourhood.

(left) Michael Tedja. Photograph: Miek Hoekzema. (right) Michael Tedja, The Color Guide Series, 2022. Museum de Fundatie. Photograph: Peter Tijhuis.

Michael Tedja
Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 1971, lives and works in Amsterdam

Michael Tedja has a multidisciplinary practice that combines images and text in paintings, drawings, poetry and installations. His work is expressive and conceptual at the same time. It is bursting with symbolism and autobiographical elements. Michael’s work often takes the form of a series, either intimate or monumental in size. Unexpected elements of collage and assemblage frequently return in his work.

Michael Tedja challenges the visitor’s intellect and calls for a discussion of the development of contemporary art in the context of globalisation. For the Prix de Rome 2023, the artist creates 2 works: a 60-piece painting ‘How to Study the Sea Poetically’ and ‘Vertical reality’, in which 232 paintings come together. Tedja’s autonomous paintings are at the interface between poetry and philosophy. They were created by the Aquaholist in the Holarium, a fictional character and a fictional space, which the artist created in 1999.


The members of the Prix de Rome Visual Arts 2023 jury are: Ann Demeester (Director of Kunsthaus Zürich), Ahmet Polat (photographer and filmmaker; founder and Director of Studio Polat), Robbert Roos (Director of Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort), Femke Herregraven (visual artist and 2019 nominee), Christina Li (freelance curator and writer) and Eelco van der Lingen (Director of the Mondriaan Fund), who is the non-voting Chair.

About the Prix de Rome

The Prix de Rome is the pre-eminent incentive award for talented visual artists from the Netherlands and the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The aim of the Prix de Rome is to stimulate the development of highly talented artists and to boost their visibility, thereby ensuring that the visual art field remains topical. The Mondriaan Fund has organised and financed the award since 2012. The Prix de Rome Visual Arts 2023 is being organised in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. An accompanying publication will also be produced.

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