Artes Mundi 5 Social Contours. Art at the Borders Conference

Artes Mundi 5, Britain’s largest visual arts prize, continues to explore an exciting range of distinctive practices drawn from a community of international contemporary artists. Within this year’s shortlist, there are threads of commonality but also divergences in form, narrative and conceptual framework.

Artes Mundi 5 shortlisted artists Miriam Bäckström, Tania Bruguera,
Phil Collins, Sheela Gowda, Teresa Margolles, Darius Mikšys and
Apolonija Šušteršič. Credit Wales News Service.

Artes Mundi recognises the importance of selecting diverse, thought-provoking work around questions of place and community. In an increasingly globalised world where boundaries or borders are being configured, erased and redefined, artists can offer a vital and unexpected commentary on such processes. Here, the values associated with subjectivity and identity, mass and high culture, remembering and forgetting, are often blurred and contested to become sites of resistance in pursuit of more expansive accounts of social and political life.

Social Contours: Art at the Borders is a one-day event where the artists shortlisted for this years’ prize, the selectors and the curator of Artes Mundi 5 come together with historians and critics to talk about their work. Alternative frames of reference are offered in three formal presentations from Dai Smith, Raymond Williams Chair of Cultural History, Swansea University; Alexis Nuselovici, Chair of Modern Cultural Studies, Cardiff University and Esra Aysun, Director of The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul. Roundtable discussions will include artists Miriam Bäckström, Tania Bruguera, Phil Collins, Sheela Gowda, Teresa Margolles, Darius Mikšys and Apolonija Šušteršič in conversation with the selectors Anders Kreuger (M HKA, Antwerp) and Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy (Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre and Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas and New York) and Ben Borthwick (Artistic Director of Artes Mundi 5).

The day concludes with a reception at Chapter, Cardiff. Chapter will also host the world première of Miriam Bäckström’s play Motherfucker at 7pm and 9pm (ticketed event—booking in advance recommended).

On the morning of 29th November, there will be a follow-on event in the form of a plenary session, ‘The Morning After the Day Before’, at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum, Wales from 10.30 to 11.30am with Heike Roms (Aberystwyth University), Nicholas Thornton (AC-NMW), Iwan Bala (University of Wales: Trinity St David) and Alfredo Cramerotti (Mostyn) in conversation with Russell Roberts (University of Wales, Newport).

The Conference forms part of the Artes Mundi 5 Exhibition, which presents the work of seven groundbreaking contemporary artists at the National Museum Cardiff, at Chapter and across the city until 13 January 2013. The artists are shortlisted for the Artes Mundi Prize, the largest cash prize awarded in the UK and one of the most significant in the world for recognising international contemporary artists. The prize will be presented on 29 November, 2012.

The seven shortlisted artists are already well known in their home country or region with growing international careers. Each artist is exhibiting at least one major work and some projects are new for this exhibition or have not previously been shown in the UK. The work included in Artes Mundi 5 explores subjects as varied as drug violence in Mexico, reality television, the condition of workers in India and the social and political nature of urban living environments.

For UK audiences, this must-see show provides a rare overview of the international art scene. Occurring every two years, Artes Mundi is committed to supporting contemporary visual artists from around the world whose work engages with social reality, lived experience and the human condition.

The 2012 nominated artists are Miriam Bäckström, Tania Bruguera, Phil Collins , Sheela Gowda, Teresa Margolles, Darius Mikšys and Apolonija Šušteršič.

For more information and to book for the Conference, visit or telephone +44 (0)29 20555 300.