Artes Mundi 5: Exhibition and prize open in Cardiff

Phil Collins
Image caption British artist Phil Collins is one of seven artists whose work is featured

The Artes Mundi international exhibition and prize officially opens in Cardiff this weekend, featuring seven artists competing for a first prize of £40,000.

Artes Mundi 5 takes place at the National Museum of Art at National Museum Cardiff with the winner to be announced at a ceremony on 29 November.

Each of the shortlisted artists will receive £4,000.

One will also be selected for a solo exhibition in 2014 at Llandudno.

This year will include a public poll to find visitors' favourite work, with the result to be revealed when the exhibition closes in January.

British artist Phil Collins has been shortlisted alongside Miriam Backstrom from Sweden, Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, Lithuanian Darius Miksys, Apolonija Sustersic from Slovenia, Indian artist Sheela Gowda and Mexico's Teresa Margolles.

Ben Borthwick, Artes Mundi artistic director, said: "We've got seven very important international artists gathered together in this exhibition."

"We're looking for artists who make work that's socially, culturally, or politically engaged. Artists who deal with lived experience, or social reality.

"For the first time a number of projects will be presented outside the museum, accessing new audiences and activating the relationship between the artwork and public space."

Several artists have created works especially for Artes Mundi 5.

Miriam Backstrom's tapestry greets visitors as they enter the gallery. It was completed by weavers in Flanders, Belgium only last week. The final piece mixes cotton, silk, wool and lurex into a scene stretching 12m wide and 3m high.

The tapestry depicts figures in a room composed of mirror fragments.

Darius Miksys's work is unique to the Artes Mundi exhibition. His installation, The Code, is created entirely from items that were already within the collection of National Museum Wales.

They were selected by searching its database, using keywords taken from an essay about Miksys that had been prepared for the Artes Mundi 5 exhibition catalogue. Fossilised bones and a stuffed gull are among the items plucked from the museum's collection.

Tania Bruguera is the only shortlisted artist whose work does not feature inside the museum walls.

She is presenting her Immigrant Respect Campaign as part of a five-year project that explores the definition of immigrant, and involves projecting the symbol of her campaign, the Immigrant Respect ribbon, on the outside walls of the museum.

The Cuban artist's posters will also be displayed throughout central Cardiff, while visitors to the exhibition at the National Museum of Art will be invited to sign a 'moral commitment contract' promoting immigrants' rights.

She said: "The proposal I brought was to be in the streets, with a space of semi-anonymity for the work. People will confront it as a normal element of their lives - not something that is isolated in a building.

Image caption Tania Bruguera is the only shortlisted artist whose work does not feature inside the museum walls

"I like the idea of people encountering the work around them, without knowing it's an artwork, and dealing with the message of the work."

Apolonija Sustersic has created a video installation which examines the development of Cardiff Bay following the completion of the barrage.

It follows other works by the artist which have responded to the social, economic and environmental issues that accompany urban regeneration projects.

Several public performances and events will take place during the exhibition, both at the National Museum and at the Chapter Arts Centre in the city.

Films by the shortlisted artists will be shown in the Chapter cinema, while talks, live music, dancing and storytelling will take place every Thursday lunchtime at the National Museum.

The winner of Artes Mundi 4 in 2010, the Israeli artist Yael Bartana, went on to represent Poland in the 2011 Venice Biennale.

This year's exhibition opens on Saturday, 6 October and runs until 13 January 2013 at Wales' National Museum of Art.

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