The Villa Romana Art Prize 2018

The Villa Romana Fellowship is not only Germany’s eldest art prize, it is also very renowned and gives artists the chance to develop themselves further, to widen their horizons and find new inspiration. Primarily dedicated to artists at the beginning of their careers, they all have been and will be contributing in co-writing the history of modern and contemporary art.
Since its inception in 1905, it has established quite a history of supporting later-celebrated artists, such as Max Beckmann and Käthe Kolliwtz (who both won the prize in 1906), Emy Roeder (1936), as well as Horst Antes (1962), Georg Baselitz (1965), Markus Lüpertz (1970) and Katharina Grosse (1992).

Awarding a group of four artists with the prize each year, selected by an annually changing jury (usually an eminent artist and a curator or art professional), they share the honor to stay at Villa Romana in Florence, Italy from the 1. February until the 30. November during a year. This ten month stay includes a fully equipped apartment, the free use of a studio, and a monthly stipend of 1,500 Euros. They are also allowed to suggest cooperative projects with other artists, academics or dialogue partner for short stay.

At the end of their stay, all of the fellows conceive a publication in form of an artists’ book, relating to their shows both in Florence and Germany.

We truly adore this concept and would like to present you the upcoming nominees of 2018, selected by Nasan Tur, artist and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and Curator at Large of documenta14:


Jeewi Lee – ‚PAST TENSE’ (2016) Traces on used Hanji paper floor, framed (oak)

Jeewi Lee

Born 1987 in Seoul, lives in Berlin. She has studied painting at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and at Hunter College of New York. Her site-specific installations, actions and series of images focus on the themes of daily events or performances, which are perceived only as traces in the final work. These traces are evidence of movements (in the urban or in the exhibition space) and do simultaneously reflect the process of their production. Jeewi Lee has participated in numerous collective shows. She is part of the 2014 and 2017 Festival of Future Nows at the Neue Nationalgalerie of Berlin.


Christophe Ndabananiye – ‚Kutembeya II’ (2016) mixing technique on pape

Christophe Ndabananiye

Born 1977 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, since 2009 lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Hochschule der Bildende Künste of Saarbrücken. As a painter, he’s the author of a series of self-portraits informed by themes of traumatic experiences related to escape, family, homeland and mother tongue. Then he began using shoes as an embodiment of the movement of the individual and of the force of gravity. In his own country, Congo, the artist photographs the shoes of unknown people and then depicts them in paintings or installations. In his latest paintings he is developing his work on memory on paper and polystyrene sheets. Christophe Ndabananiye has worked with the Medienlabor zur Kunst Afrikas (Media laboratory for African art) at the Freie University of Berlin and has participated in several exhibitions in project spaces, among others at the SAVVY Contemporary and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin.


Lerato Shadi – ‚MOSAKO WA NAKO’ National Arts Festival, Grahamstown (2016)

Lerato Shadi

Born 1979 in Mafikeg, South Africa, lives and works in Berlin. She studied art at the University of Johannesburg. Her practice investigates the politics of the body, of the female body, the body of the black South African woman. In her work Lerato deals with themes of institutional violence, of the patriarchal and colonial strategies of exclusion and oblivion and of the resistance through subjective narratives. Shadi works with different media including drawing, performance and video. Her works have been presented in many museums and project speces, including the Biennials of Moscow and Dakar.


Viron Erol Vert – Power Play (2016)

Viron Erol Vert

Born 1975 in Germany, lives and works in Istanbul and Berlin. He studied at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, and has further education in fashion and textile design. With his objects and installations, Vert confronts himself with the narratives of Mediterranean historiography and translates their characters into his own visual codes. Recently, he installed inside the Galerie Wedding in Berlin a Dreamatory, a sort of dormitory in which he invites visitors to make space for their dreams in their daily lives. Among his solo shows venues are the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, the gallery Galerist in Istanbul and the Berghain in Berlin.


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