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Tata Frenkel wins the 8th JCDecaux Award and Mykolas Valantinas is selected as the audience’s favourite

The Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) and the outdoor advertising company JCDecaux Lithuania have announced the winners of their joint competition-exhibition JCDecaux Award 2023: In Exchange to Ages. The international jury unanimously decided that the main award and cash prize should go to artist Tata Frenkel for her work How One Becomes Antenna. Tata Frenkel receives a prize of EUR 4,000 established by the outdoor advertising company JCDecaux Lithuania and the opportunity to feature her work across the company’s outdoor advertising spaces.

This year, the international jury comprised three contemporary art experts: the London-based curator Milda Batakytė who works for the non-profit contemporary art institution Auto Italia; Berlin-based Swedish artist Nina Canell, who has had solo exhibitions at institutions including Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (Switzerland), S.M.A.K in Ghent (Belgium), Camden Arts Centre in London, Ark Art Centre in Seoul, mumok in Vienna and Fridericianum in Kassel (Germany); and Marianne Dobner, curator at mumok Museum of Modern Art in Vienna and a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna, where she is currently writing her dissertation on Andy Warhol’s exhibition practices.

The jury members were impressed by the open, experimental and collaborative approach of Tata Frenkel, an artist whose work explores the ‘Unseen Arts’ – a self-coined term that refers to performative speaking, storytelling and other forms of articulation or sonification. Frenkel’s award-winning installation How One Becomes Antenna, consists of prototypes of theremins – electronic musical instruments controlled without the physical contact of the performer – that were constructed by participants of a specially organised workshop, and a performative lecture presented on several occasions by the artist herself.

“We were particularly taken by the artist’s commitment to inclusiveness and knowledge exchange. With strong artistic integrity, Frenkel has created a highly sensitive network that responds to its environment and tends to the multiple energetic bodies within it,” says the jury of their decision.

The jury also awarded a Special Mention to Mečislovas Ežerskis – whose carved walking sticks were integrated into participant Mykolas Valantinas’ installation – in recognition of a lifetime of artistic achievement and dedication to his practice. For many years now, Ežerskis, a devoted promoter of the craft of carving, has run The Stick Museum in his home in Kelmė, Lithuania.

This year, the JCDecaux Prize exhibition took place in a new location – the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius. Traditionally, visitors have the opportunity to express their preferences and vote for their favourite artwork. On this occasion, the most popular piece was Mouth to Mouth by artist Mykolas Valantinas. In the work, the artist creates a narrative that oscillates between documentary and fiction, following the logic of retelling transformational fairy tales and personifications of nature. The Audience Choice Award provides Valantinas with the opportunity to use JCDecaux Lithuania’s outdoor advertising space for future projects.

The curators of this year’s exhibition, Kotryna Markevčiūtė and Ona Juciūtė, selected six artists’ projects from over a hundred submissions: Joelis Aškinis, Tata Frenkel, Sandra Golubjevaitė, Urtė Janus, Mykolas Valantinas and Miglė Vyčinaitė were each invited to create new works for the JCDecaux Prize 2023 exhibition. The exhibition architecture was formed by Povilas Marozas. The project is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.