The King Abdulaziz center for world culture (ithra) announces first edition winner of ithra art prize

February 02, 2018

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) announced Sharjah-based, Saudi Arabian artist Ayman Zedani as the winner of the first edition of the Ithra Art Prize.

Launched in 2017, the Prize is awarded to emerging Saudi talent in contemporary art and was introduced by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture as a means to fund, promote and offer Saudi artists a global platform.

“The Center is a place where ideas and dreams take shape and we are excited about the prospect of highlighting Saudi talent such as Ayman. His proposal for the Ithra Art Prize is a great example of the potential we have in the region,” Ali Al-Mutairi, Director of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) said.

The first edition of the competition received over 80 proposals and the winner was chosen by a selection committee made up of Saudi as well as international experts, including members of the Center and Art Dubai.

“I am honoured to have been selected as the winner of the first edition of the Ithra Art Prize. This is a unique opportunity to present my work on a global scale and collaborate with an institution, whose contributions to the cultural development in Saudi Arabia I greatly admire,” Zedani said.

As part of a collaboration between Ithra and Art Dubai, Zedani’s work will be unveiled at Art Dubai 2018 in March, and subsequently join Ithra’s prestigious permanent collection.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s building with its unique architecture rises as a shining beacon of knowledge in Dhahran’s skyline. The building, which is an initiative by Saudi Aramco, is significantly located near the Prosperity Well where oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The purpose of this ambitious initiative is to accelerate the Kingdom’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy as envisioned by HM King Abdullah who laid the foundation stone for this iconic building.

The Center is the first incubator of knowledge of its kind in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It brings together under its roof many programs that aim to create a positive and tangible impact in the fields of knowledge and culture by preparing the national talents for the knowledge-based and innovation-based creative industries.

The Center features a modern architectural design, state-of-the-art technologies, unique learning tools, and enriching programs. It is an important platform for explorers, intellectuals, innovators, and leaders. The Center – a diverse cultural space – has a 21st century library, an idea lab, an oasis for children, a four-gallery museum, art exhibits, an archives gallery, an energy exhibit, and a knowledge tower which stands at its heart to offer educational programs that cater to all age groups. The Center’s programs were all designed to inspire the community, enrich the culture, and support the community.

Bitcoin accepted for the first time by Ronchini Gallery at The Armory Show, New York 2018

Ronchini Gallery will present Breaking the Fourth Wall, a project by Berndnaut Smilde at Platform at The Armory Show 2018. Now in its second edition and this year curated by Jen Mergel, Platform features large-scale artworks, installations and site-specific commissions across the fair.

Smilde stages his first ‘live’ images on a theatrical set as a site for the repeated generation of a cloud. These ephemeral clouds will appear automatically and at random times throughout the duration of the fair, dissipating as mysteriously as they were formed. Here, he invites us to anticipate, witness, perhaps even photograph each fleeting form that emerges and fades beyond the edges of the picture, into our present space. On this same set, Smilde previously produced countless clouds to capture a single moment by photograph. The project title, Breaking the Fourth Wall, takes its name from a theatre-expression used to describe directly addressing the audience and breaking the illusion of a play in productions. Here, it also refers to the cloud leaving the boundaries of the set. Smilde was born in 1978 in Groningen, The Netherlands. He currently lives and works in Amsterdam.

Smilde’s work consists of installations, sculptures and photography. He explores the physical de-construction and re-construction of materials; light, space, atmosphere and experience in relation to his architectural environment, creating a new moment between the realms of reality and the temporal. His artistic point of view often centers on duality. His works question: inside and outside, temporality, size, the function of materials and architectural elements. His Nimbus series was recognised by TIME Magazine as one of the ‘Top Ten Inventions of 2012’ and his work is held in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Ronchini Gallery is selling an edition of the photograph, Nimbus Powerstation (2017), and is only accepting payment on the work through Bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency.

Ronchini Gallery aims to discover and rediscover exceptional artists through presenting curated exhibitions from the gallery’s stable of international artists and beyond. Founded by Lorenzo Ronchini in 1992, the gallery evolved from years of private collecting.

The Armory Show is New York’s premier art fair and a definitive cultural destination for discovering and collecting the world’s most important 20th and 21st century art. Staged on Manhattan’s Piers 92 & 94, The Armory Show features presentations by leading international galleries, innovative artist commissions and dynamic public programs. Since its founding in 1994, The Armory Show has served as a nexus for the international art world, inspiring dialogue, discovery and patronage in the visual arts.

Exhibition: Berndnaut Smilde at Platform, The Armory Show, New York 2018

Dates: 8 – 11 March


-Compiled by Mariam Nihal

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