Independent curator of her own project space, 105Besme, and organizer of international exhibitions aplenty, Tania Nasielski is no stranger to the workings of up-and-coming artists. Bringing forth her experience, she recently banded up with pre-selection jury of this year’s Young Belgian Art Prize. In a nutshell, she opens up about the enriching and demanding selection process, and on making well informed decisions when confronted with such multifaceted portfolios.
Photo courtesy of Tania Nasielski
Can you talk to us about the selection process?
Looking at 250 dossiers in such a short time somehow forces you to be effective. You do have to trust your eye, but that is not quite enough, and sometimes can be misleading. Art reproduced in a paper file doesn’t come across as straightforwardly as the original. I try to read as much of the background information given by the artist as I can. I particularly like to be surprised by work that is both fresh and innovative, and intrinsically coherent.
Finalizing the selection process, the deliberation of the (pre)jury is a moment of intense discussions and interesting exchange. We are aware both of our responsibility as members of the pre-jury, and of the international jury’s final decision-making, based on our first selection.
What, to you, is the role played by the YBAP? How significant is the fact that it is open to foreign artists residing in Belgium?
YBAP plays a fundamental role for artists in Belgium as it is one of few Belgian prizes showing works in a curated exhibition as a result – in addition to the prizes. It has gained national and international recognition – we could say it has somehow become the Belgian Turner Prize. More and more foreign artists come to live, study and work in Belgium. YBAP being open to them seems like a fair and logical step to take. Incidentally it also makes the selection process and the final show richer and more diverse – and it mirrors the fact that the final jury itself is international.
Looking at the shortlist, can you pinpoint any major shifts or changes in the way Belgian contemporary art is evolving?
In addition to becoming more and more internationalized as mentioned above, Belgian contemporary art is increasingly diverse in its genres and forms. These aspects are mirrored by the shortlist of selected artists.The Young Belgian Art Prize finalists are exhibited at BOZAR until September 13th, 2015. bozar.be