Artist Annika Thiems, a recent graduate from the MFA Curating program at Goldsmiths College, London, has been selected as the winner of the 2019 NEON Curatorial Award, which aims to build links between emerging curators in London and Greece and is part of an ongoing partnership between the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and the Athens-based nonprofit NEON.
Now in its eighth year, the annual prize invites emerging curators to devise an exhibition proposal that draws from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, which includes over five-hundred contemporary artworks by 220 international and Greek artists. For this year’s award, proposals came from curators from Greece, as well as students and alumni from the Masters programs at the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal College of Art, and Goldsmiths College.
Annika Thiem was honored for her submission, “On Air, On Water,” a three-part radio broadcast that uses two understandings of the word “wave”—as in water–based wave, and radio transmission wave, to open up a conversation around cultural identities in flux, at a ceremony at the Whitechapel Gallery on Friday, December 13. The imaginary exhibition includes work by three artists—Rivane Neuenschwander, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, and Nadeem Din-Gabisi—and is centered around Neuenschwander’s Continentals, 2008, a large sculptural piece formed from a basin filled with cloudy water with smaller empty basins floating within it.
Commenting on Thiems’s proposal, the jury said: “Annika chooses both material and immaterial ways to address a post-national condition and cultural identities in flux. The water provides a strong metaphor for this and the work Continentals is ideal to initiate such conversations. These dialogues, which are in the form of radio broadcasts transmitted from the independent project space Radio Athènes in Athens, are produced through residencies and give great possibility for further expansion and outreach.”
The judging panel comprised Adelaide Bannerman, curator at Tiwani Contemporary and producer for International Curators Forum, London; Galini Notti, an Athens-based independent curator; Catherine Wood, senior curator of international art at Tate Modern; and jury chair Nayia Yiakoumaki, curator of Archive Gallery.