Catalyst Award 2011

This year, for the second time, the Catalyst Award, founded by tranzit. hu, will be handed out.

The award is given to individuals, projects, and initiatives which, directly or indirectly, have an impact on the contemporary art scene–they contribute to the presentation, discussion and mediation of art with their progressive approach of form or substance. The award equally recognizes progressive initiatives without institutional background or support, as well as initiatives emerging within an institutional framework. What "progressiveness" actually stands for is not predefined, as this fundamental issue–in accordance with the intentions of tranzit. hu–will be the focus of a continuous professional debate. The goal of the Catalyst Award is to enhance the appreciation, and its collective character, of inspiring artistic initiatives. The award, therefore, purports to encourage the social practice of recognition; its goal is not solely to create prestige. Hence, the Catalyst Award deploys the framework and institution of the awarding as a means, not as an end in itself.

In 2011, the founder invites nominations for the Catalyst Award in two categories:

1. motor (initiatives which have been active for a long time, but function, or functioned, as a catalyst);
2. novelty (initiatives of the recent past which are considered to be catalysts).

Nomination and more info on the Catalyst Award blog

The nomination is open to everyone and is until November 30, 12pm.

The Catalyst Award awards a prize of HUF 500,000 per project, and a prize designed by an artist.

Jury members:

Róza El-Hassan, artist
Ágnes Gagyi, social researcher
Dóra Hegyi, curator
Zsolt Sőrés, visual poet
János Szoboszlai, curator
Hedvig Turai, art historian
Jelena Vesic, curator (Belgrade)

The award ceremony: December 5, 2011, FUGA Budapest Center of Architecture

Image: Tamás Komoróczky: Golden Golem Award, 2011

Awardess of the Catalyst Award 2011

The awardee in the Motor category is Krétakör and the Napidíj project of Nemzeti Művészetért Alapítvány. 2 The awardees received the Golden Golem Award of artist Tamás Komróczky and an exclusive song by the music band of women artists, called Strassz, along with a HUF500 000 prize for each category.

The jury of the Catalyst Award aspired this year to award projects which, besides raising relevant issues, also markedly take a position vis-à-vis the current social context of contemporary art in Hungary. The jury also examined whether the projects have impact in their narrower and wider contexts. Those nominations were favored which are based on collaboration.

The award handed out to Krétakör was explained by the jury with the following: “Krétakör has been a long-standing motor of the alternative theatre life in Hungary. However, the Catalyst Award was given to Krétakör by the jury not because of this, but for the transformation Krétakör had carried out in their operation in the last few years. The renewal of Krétakör is a positive example for how a contemporary art project can react to the altered social and political climate. Their position is, nevertheless, also a model in that respect that it is mandatory and crucial for the artists-intellectuals to react to this environment. On the other hand, according to a recent statement of Krétakör’s artistic director, the theatre profession is currently in such a state that it can no longer circumvent redefining its own concepts. The jury deems this a way of thinking to adhere to, as the same urge can be detected in relation to the crisis of the infrastructure of museums and art institutions. Based on the institutional, personal, and financial issues afflicting the theatre profession in Hungary, Krétakör urges a complex transformation in cultural policy. This transformation, according to the jury, is indispensable not only in the field of theatre, but also in the other fields of contemporary art.”

In the novelty category, the Napidíj project of the Nemzeti Művészetért Alapítvány (NMA) was awarded, about which the jury said the following: “The NMA Napidíj criticizes the social practice of awarding ironically and with ease. The gesture, nevertheless, is more than just a gag; the community which is formed around the Napidíj, re-defines the notion of participation in contemporary culture and art as well as that of social hierarchies. While they criticize a norm and operate, seemingly, with new propositions, the strongest aspect of the project is criticism. This position is not without predecessors within the public art life in Hungary, yet the art award in the current situation poses the most relevant questions of consensus and relevancy. The NMA Napidíj is simultaneously the symptom and the critique of contemporary art’s current state. With awarding this project, we would like to pinpoint the relevancy of posing a question. The question is whether contemporary artists have such significance in contemporary Hungarian culture which can be expected from an intellectual position."

For photos of the event, please see tranzit. hu's Facebook page

External Links
Catalyst Award blog