PRESS RELEASE - Hansabank Group press release 19.12.2005

Hansabank Group annual art award goes to Estonian artist Mark Raidpere

Hansabank Group Art Award 2005 goes to the Estonian photo and video artist Mark Raidpere who during this year also represented Estonia on the 51st International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia.

According to Sirje Helme, director of the KUMU Art Museum and a member of the jury, Raidpere's work is clearly distinctive. "This human sphere where his narrative evolves is different from the norm - he is different and vulnerable," said Helme. The artist speaks about those on the borderline - whose mental or sexual orientation does not correspond to the "ordinary" citizen's idea of a normal society. The painful openness is first and foremost directed at the artist himself who has used both his family members as well as himself as subjects in his work. As an artist, Mark Raidpere is a delicate observer. It seems as if nothing really happens in his work, and yet he manages to include existential situations in this stillness," said Helme.

The level of humanity and honesty with which the artist portrays the relationships between the individual and the society, were the primary factors that decided this year's competition in favour of Raidpere.

Every year since 2000 Hansabank Group art award has been given to an artist for outstanding creative contribution during the past year or years. The jury reviews the artist's active work during the latest period and assesses its innovativeness and international convertibility. The award includes a 5,000 euro cash prize as well as organising solo exhibitions in each Baltic country.

The jury consisted of Sirje Helme, director of the KUMU Art Museum, Estonia , Rūta Pileckaite, curator of the Lithuanian Contemporary Art Information Center, Solvita Krese, director of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Iris Müller-Westermann, curator of Stockholm's Moderna Museet and Mart Tõevere from Hansabank. The other finalists where the Lithuanian artist Darius Žiūra and the Latvian artist Katrina Neiburga.

Hansabank Group has been giving out the art award for six years. In the early years the award was given to Estonian artists: Marko Laimre - 2000, Ene-Liis Semper - 2001 and Marko Mäetamm - 2002. In 2003 the award was given to the Lithuanian artist Arturas Raila and in 2004 to the Latvian artist Gints Gabrãns.