When in December 2009 the Victor Pinchuk Foundation successfully launched the Future Generation Art Prize, a realization of Victor Pinchuk's vision for the first global art prize, we were confident we had created the appropriate apparatus, in an ever more rapidly changing world, for such an innovative undertaking.
One of the central challenges of our time is the issue of unrestricted access to knowledge and information for everyone, wherever they live, as well as the opportunity to acquire the related expertise and experience. The Future Generation Art Prize gathers together these central aspects for a new generation of young artists up to the age of 35 in a forward-looking concept. This involves a global dimension, focussing not only on a young generation of artists, but also on an open and democratic application procedure via the Internet, a high level of artistic expertise, commitment from mentor artists, a generous amount of prize money and a distinguished board, jury and selection committee. Beyond the idea of a considerable monetary award, part of the Prize's central idea is the provision of resources for the production of new works, for which a substantial part of the prize money is set aside.
While we were confident that in the Future Generation Art Prize we had conceived of an innovative and meaningful concept, the enormous worldwide feedback from a new generation of artists has still been surprising. More than 4,000 artists from 130 countries across all continents applied for both the 2010 as well as for the current 2012 edition of the Prize. It has become immediately evident that an upcoming generation of artists – forged in the awareness of local and national socio-cultural identity – exists in search of international challenges and networks, while also possessing the desire to present their works on the international stage.
PinchukArtCentre as part of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation made this international stage a reality for young artists in 2010 and is again, both passionately and professionally, doing so in 2012. On each occasion 21 artists nominated by a selection committee – among them the winner of Ukraine's first national art prize, the PinchukArtCentre Prize – have been able to present predominantly new works, created specially for the show, in a large-scale exhibition at PinchukArtCentre. A grand highlight was the award ceremony in December 2010, where the commitment of the art establishment to this new generation was impressively and movingly demonstrated by the presence of the international jury, the four mentor artists and leading museum directors and collectors from around the world. A logical continuation of this idea was the successful presentation of the nominated artists, again with new works, in 2011 within the context of the 54th Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Papadopoli.
Now in 2012 we are proudly and expectantly looking forward to the exciting and challenging new works this year's selection of artists will be presenting. Moreover, we are especially grateful to Damien Hirst and his unwavering commitment as a mentor artist in supporting the young generation by showing a new sequence of beautiful paintings from his series Two Weeks One Summer.