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First $100,000 Future Generation Prize Given to Brazilian Artist

13 December 2010

KIEV— Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle has been awarded the inaugural $100,000 Future Generation Art Prize. She accepted the first iteration of the biannual prize for a trilogy of short films which, according to a catalogue of finalists' works, are "as political as they are economic, reflecting subversively on social behavior and social structures."

Known for her films, photographs, and installations that in the past have been featured in the 2006 Biennal de la Habana, Cuba, the 2007 Biennale de Lyon, and the Panorama da Arte Brasileira São Paulo (2007) and Madrid (2008), Marcelle received the award at a ceremony in Kiev on Friday that was attended by the prize's "artist mentors" Andreas Gursky, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Takashi Murakami. Other noted guests included Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong, Pompidou director Alfred Pacquement, Prada Foundation founder Miuccia Prada, and Tate director Nicholas Serota.

Anyone under the age of 35 can apply online for the opportunity to win the international award, a democratic feature that led some 6,000 artists from 125 countries across six continents to submit work, the New York Times reports. (Marcelle, who was born in 1974 and lives and works in Belo Horizonte, is now 36, but was 35 when she applied.) One stipulation of the award is that $40,000 of the prize money must be allotted to the creation of new work. This year's winner was selected by an art-world A-list jury including Yale University art school dean Robert Storr and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The Ukrainian Pinchuk Art Center will display Marcelle's award-winning videos along with the art submitted by the 20 other finalists — including such up-and-coming international art stars as South African artist Nicholas Hlobo, Guido van der Werve, Hugo Boss Prize finalist Cao Fei, Cartier Prize winner Simon Fujiwara, U.K. favorite Emily Wardill, and "Younger Than Jesus" artists Ziad Antar and Keren Cytter — through January 9. Romanian artist Mircea Nicolae received the $20,000 special jury prize that will fund an artist-in-residency program for the 30-year-old at the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

The Future Generation prize is funded by the nonprofit Victor Pinchuk Foundation, which was created in 2006 by its namesake, billionaire art collector Victor Pinchuk, who was listed among Time magazine's 100 most influential people this year. The Ukrainian philanthropist, onetime parliament member, and business tycoon will purchase Marcelle's winning films for his own collection. "When I first saw her work I thought it is so smart and so beautiful I would like to acquire it," Pinchuk told the Times. "As I'm establishing a tradition of buying the winner's work I am glad the jury agreed."