Results of the III Art History Contest

The awards ceremony of the winners of the III Art History Contest organised by the Stedley Art Foundation (whose founder is Stella Beniaminova) took place at the National Art Museum of Ukraine on 22 October. The Contest was supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Italy to Ukraine, the Italian Institute of Culture in Kyiv, Rodovid publishing house, collector and patron Borys Gryniov.

The topic of this year Contest was formulated as ‘Art after Socio-Economic Perturbations’.

I prize – Iryna Kosyshyna. Her essay received 49 points. The prize: museum trip to Rome.

II prize – Vitliy Yankovyy. His essay received 46 points. The prize: 5000 UAH.

III prize – Sevindzh Idrisova and Kateryna Nosko. The essays of the ladies received 44 points each. The prize: books on art from Rodovid publishing house.

* The links to the texts are provided in accordance with the order they were published by online-resources that are the partners of the Contest.

The Art History Contest is a chance for young, gifted intellectuals that think and analyse independently to make themselves known. It is a chance for those who aspire to the subtlest accuracy in translation of the visual into the verbal. It is a chance for brave interpreters and bright perfectionists. It is an attempt to introduce new names to contemporary art criticism, to tune communication between young critics and authoritative media and Internet-resources.

34 papers were submitted for the participation in the Contest. The experts selected 10 most interesting from them. The authors of the mentioned 10 works were invited to attend master-classes on 20-21 September. During the master-classes, art historians, philosophers, critics Diana Klochko, Vira Baldyniuk, Iryna Bondarevska, Ganna Vasyk analysed the texts of the finalists and discussed theoretical problems of contemporary art criticism. After that stage, 10 finalists - Iryna Kostyshyna, Nelya Golovina, Vitaliy Yankovyy, Lina Romanuha, Valeriya Lazarenko, Anastasiya Osypenko, Mariya Vtorushyna, Mariya Yasynska, Sevindzh Idrisova, Kateryna Nosko – improved their texts and submitted them to the jury. This year the jury included: Olga Balashova, art critic, art historian; Oksana Barshynova, art historian, curator, Head of the NAMU Department of the XX-XXI Art; Borys Gryniov, collector and patron; Kateryna Botanova, Director of the Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, chief editor of online-journal KORYDOR, critic, translator; Kateryna Stukalova, critic, art historian; Valentyna Klymenko, journalist, coordinator of the Art History Contest.

Partners of the Contest: the National Art Museum of Ukraine, ART UKRAINE journal, online-journal KORYDOR. 


Olga Balashova

I must admit that it was very difficult for me to assess the texts this year. Not only because the vast majority of them was well and professionally written, but also because of the topic. Too little time has passed since the events that have come under scrutiny of the authors. Even a word ‘after’ in the topic of the Contest appears premature. We are still in the thick of history. That is why the attempts of the participants of the Contest to stop, think and, what is the most amazing, suggest a further path are very inspiring, they renew one’s powers. I hope that some texts will be published in respective professional arts media soon so that the readers can feel their therapeutic effect.


Kateryna Stukalova

This year essays have had a curious effect on me: on the one hand, a purely formal level has got better, the papers are ‘smooth’ and have a better structure. On the other hand, many essays look alike as if they were siblings. They share the style, the material they analyse, the weird pathos of writing, the superficialism of analysis and the banality of conclusions. That is why I assessed highly two texts, the ones in which I saw at least an attempt to look further than the usual list of names, facts and mottos, find one’s own voice and attitude to what is happening.


Borys Gryniov

This year Contest is the most serious one out of all three that took place in the course of three years. Indeed, the texts are very strong: they demonstrate good understanding of the topic and awareness with the material. It was very hard to make one’s choice this year. Ukraine is undergoing a turbulent period, that is why I singled out the texts that analysed a Ukrainian situation, even though the participants demonstrated their erudition and impressive knowledge of history and artistic reactions thereto, which was also a big plus. There were no problems with argumentation and evidence supporting it this year, however, there are still problems with the analysis and conclusions. It seems to me that many young authors are afraid to speak their minds, as if they have the complexes of a know-it-all who is afraid to make a mistake and chooses to refer to the opinions of authoritative critics instead of building their own thoughts.

View pictures from event