The Sparebanken Pluss Artist’s Prize for 2011 has been awarded to Preben Holst from Kristiansand. Stein Hannevik, CEO of Sparebanken Pluss, presented the prize during a special event at SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum on 3 November 2011. In conjunction with this year’s Artist’s Prize, SKMU is pleased to present an exhibition featuring photographs and video works by Holst. Sparebanken Pluss Artist’s Prize is awarded annually, in collaboration with Sørlandets Kunstmuseum. The prize fund – NOK 75,000 – is given to a young artist who has distinguished himself or herself within the field of visual art.

‘We have established the prize in order to promote contemporary art in Sørlandet, and to give well-deserved recognition to young artists from our region’, says Stein Hannevik, CEO of Sparebanken Pluss.

Sørlandets Kunstmuseum nominates up to six candidates, all of whom are from Agder, or who have established their artistic practice in the region. This year three artists were nominated: Preben Holst (b.1974), Lars Morell (b.1980), and Kristine Jakobsen (b.1977).

The jury consists of four members: three from Agder’s artist community and one from Sparebanken Pluss. This year’s jurors are Pontus Kyander, former director of Sørlandets Kunstmuseum; Kristine Jærn Pilgaard, independent curator; Else-Brit Kroneberg, curator at Sørlandets Kunstmuseum; and Per Anders Ropstad, marketing manager at Sparebanken Pluss.

The jury’s statement about this year’s winner:
Preben Holst (b.1974) works with photography and video, using these media to explore states of being in the transition from youth to adulthood. I n many of his works, children and adolescents are situated in an indefinable wooded landscape – one that can be experienced as safe and known yet also dark and terrifying. These works explore adolescence as a universal human theme. They give us glimpses into a ‘hidden’ reality – a world which is not ours – where to create a personal identity, a group identity and self-realization are paramount. The jury applauds Holst’s deliberate and determined work method.

The way Holst presents his works in the exhibition format is also, we believe, a strength. Here the photographs are not merely works in themselves, but grouped together as elements in a larger context. The individual pictures thus meld into larger narratives. Yet these are not large narratives such as are found in the mural tradition in medieval and baroque church frescoes, but narratives with a much more private character.

Through his works, Holst displays superlative craftsmanship. Composition, light and colour are rendered with photo-technical proficiency. In addition, he manages to approach his subjects in ways that make their character appear natural and genuine.

Preben Holst finished his formal education in 2009 with an MA from Kunsthøgskolen in Malmø. His BA is from Kunstakademiet in Trondheim. Although born in Kristiansand, Holst presently lives and works in Copenhagen.

Previous winners:
Jorann Abusland – 2009
Tori Wrånes – 2010

The other nominees for this year’s prize are Lars Morell and Kristine Jakobsen.

Lars Morell (b. 1980) grew up in Kristiansand and studied at Statens Kunstakademi in Oslo (2001-2005). He works with sculpture, painting, printing and photography, either producing individual artworks or combining them into installations. In his artistic practice, he typically combines aesthetic elements with elements from a surreal, somewhat bizarre world. Morell has participated in several exhibitions in Norway and internationally. Although presently based in Paris, he also works in Berlin, in Oslo and at Søgne (near Kristiansand).

Kristine Jakobsen (b. 1977) is from Kristiansand. She received her BA from Kunsthøyskolen in Bergen, section for photography (2003-2006). Her favoured mediums are photography, text and book formats, and she also combines these expressions. Thematically, her works centre on human life and existence in nature, but also as part of nature. Jakobsen lives and works in Oslo.