Nikolaus Gansterer is winner of the MAC International prize 2018

Austrian based artist Nikolaus Gansterer has been announced as the winner of the 2018 MAC International Prize.

Chosen from more than 800 submissions the shortlist includes artists from Ireland, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, USA, Palestine, Austria, France and Turkey, working across a range of mediums including photography, film, installation, sculpture and drawing.

MAC International is Ireland’s largest art prize and one of the most substantial in the UK. 13 artists were shortlisted for the prize, most of whom were in the MAC for the announcement. Nikolaus Gansterer collected the £20,000 prize which has also been funded by Arts Council NI, Tourism NI and Belfast City Council.

The winning installation is Wor(l)ding: a mesh work of sense of flux.

The MAC International Prize was presented by Anne Barlow, at a packed ceremony in the MAC this evening. Previous winners of the prize are Mairéad McClean (2014) and Jasmina Cibic (2016).

The winner was selected by judges Hugh Mulholland, Senior Curator at the MAC Belfast; Anne Barlow, Director at Tate St Ives; and Başak Şenova, Curator, CrossSections (Vienna, Helsinki and Stockholm).

Hugh Mulholland, Senior Curator at the MAC and MAC International judge said:

“MAC International has quickly positioned itself as a must-see exhibition with our visitors and is an important international platform for artists. The exhibition and the significant prize on offer to an individual artist is a demonstration of the MAC’s continued commitment to supporting ambitious and challenging work within contemporary visual art practice. It has been a pleasure to get to know the exhibiting artists work more deeply and to have had the privilege of working alongside my fellow jury members who’s position in the art world adds significant weight to the exhibition’s international credentials.

Judge Anne Barlow, Director at Tate St Ives said:

“I am thrilled to be part of the jury for this significant prize for contemporary art. Since its inception in 2014, MAC International has made a vital contribution to the visual arts in Belfast and beyond, offering opportunities for artists from around the world to present both existing and new work to the public. It has been wonderful to see the breadth and quality of applications for this 2018 edition, and I very much look forward to seeing the work of the shortlisted artists at the MAC in November.”

Judge Başak Şenova, Curator and Designer said:

“MAC International is an important measure of the current state of contemporary art production around the world. The quality of work submitted this year was outstanding and the process of selecting the artists to take part in the exhibition, alongside my fellow jurors Hugh Mulholland and Anne Barlow, has been a wonderful experience. It has been inspiring to see the quality and criticality demonstrated in the eleven selected projects and I am very excited to see the resulting exhibition in November.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “As principal funder of the MAC, we are delighted that the MAC International Award has created such a positive stir internationally.
The prize represents a serious commitment to the promotion of contemporary visual arts, and it does much more than reward the remarkable talents of a single, winning artist. It raises Northern Ireland’s profile as a serious player on the international arts scene and it creates the opportunity for audiences here to encounter some of the freshest, most exciting and ambitious work currently being produced by artists around the world. I would encourage everyone to go along and see this exhibition.”

Tourism Northern Ireland has funded MAC International as part of its Event Funding Programme since 2014.Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism Northern Ireland, said: “MAC International provides a unique opportunity for visual artists around the world to exhibit at the MAC and with this, it brings considerable out of state visitors. Events such as these create a positive perception about Northern Ireland and help to profile the destination to those who are culturally curious, ensuring our continued success in growing our visitor numbers.”

The MAC International Prize is a biennial event which launched in 2014. The winner of the inaugural award was Northern Irish-born artist Mairead McClean, who works out of London.