The DESTE Prize was established in 1999 as part of the DESTE Foundation’s policy of supporting and promoting contemporary art in Greece. Awarded biannually to a young Greek artist, the Prize aims to identify and showcase the work of an emerging generation of contemporary Greek artists who are actively redefining the parameters of cultural production and contributing to new issues in the artistic discourse. Through the Prize, the Foundation hopes to endorse the spirit of exploration, ingenuity, and ambition, which is essential to DESTE’s mission as well as to the vitality of contemporary art.
Since 2009, the DESTE Foundation has been collaborating with the Museum of Cycladic Art where an biannual exhibition of artworks by those shortlisted for the DESTE Prize is hosted. This collaboration between the two art institutions has become an integral part of the Museum’s Young Views program, which aims to develop artistic discussion with younger generations, inform the general public about contemporary art, and establish the necessary environment for the fruitful exchange of ideas.
The artists shortlisted for the DESTE Prize are nominated by a six-member Selection Committee, which consists of Greek curators, art critics, collectors, and artists. Each member of the Selection Committee is invited to nominate up to six artists and is asked to submit complete portfolios of the candidates; the choice of artistic genre is open.
Once all candidates have been submitted, the Selection Committee convenes to select six out of the thirty-six nominated artists. These six shortlisted artists participate in the DESTE Prize exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art and compete for the DESTE Prize.
The names of the thirty-six artists initially proposed by the Selection Committee are treated confidentially. Only the artists selected to participate in the DESTE Prize exhibition are publicly announced.
The members of the Selection Committee are different in each Prize edition.
Greek artists, living in Greece or abroad, who are graduates of Schools of Fine Arts and who have a record of a continuous career in art since graduating are eligible candidates for the DESTE Prize. Nominated artists must be under forty-years-old.
THE DESTE PRIZE EXHIBITION
The DESTE Prize exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art offers a unique insight into the variety of energies, ideas, and potential of the next generation of Greek artists—equally as important, it introduces the current artistic production to a wider public. The DESTE Prize exhibition traditionally runs for a period of five months.
For the exhibition, the six artists shortlisted for the DESTE Prize may either produce new work(s) or present work(s) they have already previously created.
A Greek/English catalogue featuring the work of the six nominated artists and supplemented with essays is published by the DESTE Foundation to accompany each DESTE Prize exhibition.
NOMINATION OF WINNER
The DESTE Prize is awarded to the shortlisted artist whose work best explores new directions and opens new roads in contemporary art, thus contributing to the international art dialogue.
The six candidates are not judged solely on the work(s) presented during the DESTE Prize exhibition but on the whole body of their work, their distinct vocabulary in their use of artistic and/or hybrid practices, and their overall development as artists.
An international Jury of six members selects the winner of the DESTE Prize, following interviews with each shortlisted artist. The Jury comprises distinguished, international museum directors, curators, and art critics together with Dakis Joannou, president of the DESTE Foundation.
As is the case with the Selection Committee, the members of the Jury are different in each Prize edition.
The award is presented to the winner by one of the members of the Jury during an award ceremony that takes place at the Museum of Cycladic Art. The winner of the DESTE Prize is awarded the amount of 10.000 Euros.