The Köler Prize is an art award established in 2011 by the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM). Its main objective is to popularise contemporary art and to give recognition to important artists and art collectives that are active in Estonia.Five artists or art collectives of Estonian origin or who reside permanently in Estonia are nominated annually for the Köler Prize on the basis of their creative work over the past three years. The Board of the EKKM selects the nominees for the Köler Prize.
The nominees for the Köler Prize 2016 are ART ALLMÄGI, KRISTA MÖLDER, KRISTI KONGI, LAURA PÕLD and RAUL KELLER.
The artists submit two works of their own choice for the exhibition: one that has already been exhibited, preferably from among the artist’s creative work of the last three years, that can also in a certain sense be considered definitive or representative of the artist’s previous work, and the other, a new work produced especially for the Köler Prize.
An international jury consisting of the following members will select the winner of the Köler Prize 2016 grand prix based on the works submitted for the exhibition and the artist’s previous creative work: Anu Vahtra (Winner of 2015 Köler Prize grand prix), Julija Fomina (Curator at the Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius), Jussi Koitela (Finnish curator and visual artist), Jörg Heiser (Co-editor of Frieze magazine) and Katja Mater (Dutch visual artist and editor).
The public also has the chance to have a say in the exhibition because in addition to the main prize, the People’s Choice Award will also be decided on the basis of voting that will take place until 26 May. The laureates of both awards will be announced at the Köler Prize 2016 Gala, which will be held on 27 May of this year.
The Köler Prize awards rely entirely on art-friendly private capital. For the sixth year already, in other words from the very beginning, SMARTEN LOGISTICS AS is supporting the awarding of the main prize, and for the fourth time, SALTO AB will be funding the People’s Choice Award.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue introducing the previous creative work of the artists (the author of the texts is Eero Epner) and the documentary film Screen Tests for Köler Prize 2016, in which the nominees make sense of and comment on one another’s work.
The Köler Prize will be awarded for the sixth time in 2016. The previous winners of the Köler Prize grand prix are JEVGENI ZOLOTKO, FLO KASEARU, JAANUS SAMMA, JASS KASELAAN and ANU VAHTRA.
One of the founders of the Köler Prize, member of the Board of the EKKM Anders Härm, has expanded upon the background of the award as follows: “There are several art awards in Estonia that have been named after one or another art classic. Aside from the fact that Köler simply rhymes with Turner (see Turner Prize), we were motivated to name this award after Johann Köler in particular by the chance to chronologically get ahead of other awards, so to speak, and to virtually place the Köler Prize ahead of the Kristjan Raud Award, the Konrad Mägi Medal, and the Eduard Wiiralt Prize. This circumstance is perhaps the only connection between the prize and the 19th century Estonian painter Johann Köler.”
Supporters: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture, AS Smarten Logistics, Salto AB, Draka Keila Cabels AS, Lugemik, Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia
Thanks: Valge Kuup, Kino Sõprus, BFM, Hektor Light, AS Interna, Marit Ilison, Raul Tõnurist, Kadri Nikopensius, Elise Eimre, Dmitry Natalevich, Jevgeni Berezovski, Halen Samuli, Niene Vandromme