© Nina Kurtela

20th Art Division New Face Award

The Wall

Photos, Book

Nina KURTELA [Croatia]


The artist spent months in Berlin visiting contemporary art galleries, museums, and project spaces, almost 300 in total. The pictures of the white walls she took at each place are exhibited together as a series of digital prints. A 300-page artist’s book including these images will also be published, with the 300 images separately printed on each page. A map of the organizations involved in this project will also be added, and this book will become something of a historical document of the current Berlin art scene. Also, the white pages in this book will look very similar to “blank pages” in a brand new notebook. By making this comparison, the artist suggests that the white gallery walls are also blank spaces full of possibilities made available to the audience, inviting them to leave their own marks however they wish.

Reason for Award

It was Wassily Kandinsky who pointed out in one of his lectures at Bauhaus that empty canvases are never really empty. Similarly, the white walls in galleries or museums where artworks are exhibited are not a neutral medium either, but appear to have their own voice outlined by their shape, color, and material. A white wall is not an “empty space”; on the contrary, it expresses itself quite vividly. Using simple but powerful methods to foreground the presence of the usually overlooked white walls of exhibition spaces, this work succeeds in making us unmistakably aware of the presence of media. (FUJIMOTO Yukio)