Jury report for the 2015 ABN AMRO Art Award

In selecting Melvin Moti (Rotterdam, 1977), the jury for the ABN AMRO Art Award has chosen a remarkable artist of singular vision, tackling themes which touch on the very core of our existence with utmost focus. Through his films, objects, installations and publications, Moti concentrates on thoroughly researching his subjects. This intense activity crystallizes into striking works of art.

Important themes in Moti’s work include time, history, memory, mental experiments and phenomena that fall outside the framework of human perception. Earlier works have centered on a memory-driven tour through the empty galleries of the Hermitage (No Show, 2004), the human brain’s ability to create images on the retina in situations of total darkness (The Prisoner’s Cinema, 2008) and on making the invisible visible – in this case the fourth dimension (The Eightfold Dot, 2013). The questions that Moti raises in his work are universal: What are the mechanisms behind light and perception? How does the human imagination work? His subjects have eternal value and release the work from the constraints of time.

Moti works intensely and methodically, recreating historic events and moments that have sometimes been forgotten or have disappeared into obscurity. One striking aspect of his work is that it requires its viewers to modify their own rhythm in order to be able to surrender to it completely. It is as though we are asked to slow down — a standout quality to the jury in light of today’s culture of rapid image consumption. In addition, Moti’s work proposes its own terms. Anyone who follows them finds himself in an overwhelmingly rich and visual world in which beauty and reflection go hand in hand.

The ABN AMRO Art Award focuses on fostering talent in the Netherlands. The leading criteria for the award are the quality and uniqueness of voice found in the work. In choosing Moti as the winner, the jury opted for an internationally acclaimed artist whose work is unique and surprising. But Moti is still relatively unknown to the Dutch public and there has yet to be a retrospective exhibition of his rich and varied oeuvre. The jury views Moti as one of the most exceptional and talented Dutch artists of his generation and is pleased to present him with the 2015 ABN AMRO Art Award.

Members of the jury for the 2015 ABN AMRO Art Award:
Maria Barnas, writer, poet and artist
Lorenzo Benedetti, Curator and Director of De Appel arts centre Amsterdam
Lex ter Braak, Director of the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht
Danila Cahen, Curator of the ABN AMRO Art collection
Bart Rutten, Head of Collections, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

On behalf of the jury, Danila Cahen

Jan Schoonhoven, Reliëf R72-43, 1972, papier-maché, card and masonry paint, 106 x 106 cm. ABN AMRO collection
Johann Christian Erxleben, Buddhadienst, illustration from Ph.Fr. von Siebold, Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan, 1832, coloured lithograph, 59 x 40 cm. ABN AMRO collection

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The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Roy Beusker Fotografie

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