The Evens Arts Prize 2021 is awarded to choreographer and dancer Marlene Monteiro Freitas, with a Special Mention for artist Andrea Büttner.
Awarded bi-annually, the Evens Arts Prize honours artists who engage with challenges of contemporary Europe. The 2021 laureate was selected by an independent jury from nominations put forward by 25 representatives of cultural institutions across Europe.
The awards ceremony will take place as part of the Evens Foundation's 30th Anniversary celebrations in 2022.
Marlene Monteiro Freitas (1979, Cape Verde) is a choreographer, artist and the founder of Lisbon-based production and dance company P.OR.K. Over a career spanning more than 15 years, Freitas has built a reputation for performances that are rich visually and sensorially.
“Freitas invests in the construction of worlds where lush, evil, illness, madness and opulence are underlined – excesses that the choreographer proposes us to meet through the confrontation with surprising visual scenarios and performers’ strong physical language,” explain Tiago Rodrigues, Director, Festival d’Avignon, and Cristina Grande, Head of the Performing Arts Department, Serralves Foundation, Porto, who nominated Freitas for the Prize.
Freitas studied dance at P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels, and at the Escola Superior de Dança and the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon. In her native country, Cape Verde, she co-founded the dance group Compass and collaborates with musician Vasco Martins, and the transdisciplinary arts organisation O Espaço do Tempo in Portugal. Her recent creations include: Pierrot Lunaire (2021), which premiered at Wiener Festwochen, Mal – Embriaguez Divina (2020), 2020 Bacchae - Prelude to a Purge (2017). In 2018 La Biennale di Venezia awarded the artist the Silver Lion for Dance.
The jury recognised the singular and compelling force of the choreographic worlds created by the artist Marlene Monteiro Freitas. Daring and experimental, their sensorial immediacy draws discrete audiences into contact with a dazzling interplay of bodies, energies and effects.
The jury particularly praised the artist’s rich and layered scrutiny of European cultural traditions and their legacies. Often merging genres, myths and allegories, the works deftly undermine implicit power structures, reimagining traditions not as fixed absolutes, but as fluid encounters between subjectivities.
The Special Mention
The jury chose to award a Special Mention to Berlin-based visual artist Andrea Büttner. The Special Mention distinction was introduced in 2019 as a way to recognise outstanding work and contributions to the European art scene.
Andrea Büttner (1972, Stuttgart, Germany) connects art history with social and ethical issues, exploring broad-ranging topics such as poverty, work, community, belief, botany, Catholicism, and philosophy. Her work is based on thorough research into specific areas or situations and is articulated through diverse formats including printmaking, sculpture, painting, photography, and video. "The artistic project of Andrea Büttner proposes a bridge between different historical eras and worldviews, showing ways of being together that arises out of the gaps that divide people", explains Lars Bang Larsen, Co-Director, Art Hub, Copenhagen, who nominated the artist for the Prize.
Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017, Büttner had numerous solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2018); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2017); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2016); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2015); Tate Britain, London (2014). Recent group exhibitions include Affective Affinities, 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018); Broken White, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2016); and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany and Kabul, Afghanistan (2012). She is Professor of Fine Art at Kunsthochschule Kassel and the author of several books. Büttner is represented in Europe by Hollybush Gardens, London, Jan Mot, Brussels, and Galerie Tschudi, Zuoz.
The Special Mention of the Jury is given to the artist Andrea Büttner for her rich, multifaceted work, that composes and dismantles relationships between cultural registers, philosophical and aesthetic traditions of Western modernity, and European histories of fascism and exploitation.
With her in-depth research into the systems of value and practices of craftmanship, her works weave intricate connections between dignity, shame, religion, care, and labour. The jury particularly noted Büttner’s ability to uncover the transformative potentials of collaborative processes, illuminating otherwise shrouded forms of resistance, togetherness and community.
Read more about the Evens Arts Prize