The DESTE Prize was established in 1999 and is awarded biennially to a Greek or Cypriot artist living in Greece or abroad. The prize aims to showcase an emerging generation of artists and is integral to the foundation's policy of supporting and promoting contemporary art.

The six shortlisted artists for the DESTE Prize 2015 – Maria Hassabi, Petros Moris, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Angelo Plessas, Socratis Socratous, Natali Yiaxi - will present their work in an exhibition hosted by the Museum of Cycladic Art, scheduled to run from May 28 through September 30, 2015. The collaboration between the DESTE Foundation and the Museum of Cycladic Art falls within the scope of the latter's “Young Views” program, which aims to engage a younger audience, bring the public up to date with developments in contemporary cultural production and open up a dynamic space for the exchange of ideas.

The winner of the prize will be selected by an international Jury of six and announced during an award ceremony to be held on September 7, 2015. The winner will receive the amount of €10,000.

The DESTE Prize Shortlisted Artists:

Over the years, Maria Hassabi has developed a distinct choreographic practice centered on the relation of the body to the image - defined by sculptural physicality, extended duration, and aesthetic precision. Hassabi’s work is a practice in abstraction drawing its strength from the tension between the human subject and the artistic object, the dancer as a performer and as a physical entity. Exercised through the reduction of movement in relation to time, Hassabi’s use of abstraction develops a perception of the body as a fragmented form, and ultimately, as an affecting force. With its distinct slowness and gradual progression, Hassabi’s choreography enables “a waiting,” where form is captured and can be contemplated. As images shift, the relation between space, duration and movement is intensely magnified, and the viewer is given the chance to enter another realm of consciousness and awareness.

Petros Moris' work brings together practices of theoretic, manual and post-industrial production in order to contemplate on historical and contemporary manifestations of labour and economy, systems of intellectual property and collective creativity. His artistic practice is developed through the production of sculptural installations and twodimensional works, writing and the authoring of artist books, while being extended to interdisciplinary collaborations that embrace curating and publishing, architecture and design. Looking at the material and cultural processes that shape both the natural and the human-made environment, his work concerns an operation of evaluation and synthesis that speaks about the transformable moment between memory and progress.

Yiannis Papadopoulos’ work can be seen as a distillation of knowledge through poetic mechanisms. Driven by curiosity and a natural inclination towards human cognition, Papadopoulos tends to dissect different fields of science, ranging from pure mathematics to linguistics or archaeology, and visual culture in order to redirect and analyse the functions of art’s object. As a result, Papadopoulos’ artistic practice explores through objects, print or site-specific interventions new correlations between lucid cultural symbols and other deeply embedded local or circumstantial components. It is a suggestive gesture, which does not answer but encourages questioning.

Angelo Plessas’ work revolves around the issues of internet freedom and online personality that evolves through social media. The focus of his work is to network the offline with the online in ways that make us understand aspects of both conditions, and to generate new ways of relating to both. In the last couple of years, Plessas has been focusing on The Eternal Internet Brotherhood, a gathering and residency of sorts for internet artists that he organizes independently and crowdsources once a year.

Socratis Socratous’ artistic practice, encompassing a variety of media, defies easy categorization. He deconstructs and scrutinizes collective memory and its mechanisms with his works that do not seek to “memorize” or “memorialize” history, but rather act as “interruption” and engage critically with it. In its diversity, his work is characterized by a strategic employment of artifice, even beauty, to negotiate the hard issues of loss, displacement, and destruction, and to subvert those national and cultural identities fabricated through the manipulation of collective consciousness. Above all else, however, there is his intention for a poetic and political engagement with his environment, be it an urbanity (or a society) in crisis, like that of Athens, his city of residence, visually and critically explored dissected in a series of works since the early 2000s, or a geography in conflict, like that of Cyprus, his country of origin.

Through her work, Natali Yiaxi has developed strategies for recording the unnoticed, the fleeting and the spontaneous, leading to unexpected records, archives and maps of everyday happenings both internal and external. Yiaxi thinks in books; once she has a new idea or a hunch, she automatically starts breaking it down into chapters or pages. This is how she allows it to branch out, acquire its own flow and pace, form its own process-narrative. The internet is a daily bottomless pit of inspiration, while conceptual writing has greatly influenced her practice, teaching her the merits of ‘uncreativity’ but also how to treat language as a material.

DESTE Prize 2015 Selection Committee:

Andreas Aggelidakis - Artist, Architect, Curator
Daphne Vitali - Art Historian, Curator, EMST
Andre Zivanari - Director, Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia
Evangelia Ledaki - Curator, Art Historian
Dimitris Passas - Collector
Kostas Sahpazis - Artist, winner of the DESTE Prize 2015

DESTE Prize 2015 Jury:

Bernard Blistène - Director, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Thelma Golden - Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
Dakis Joannou - President, DESTE Foundation, Athens
Max Hollein - Director, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Frankfurt
Tom Morton - Writer, Curator, Contributing Editor, Frieze magazine
Jakub Julian Ziolkowski - Curator