The Whitechapel Gallery has announced that Elina Axioti is the winner of the 2014 NEON Curatorial Award. The award was established in 2012 to champion curatorial excellence, and is part of an ongoing partnership between the Whitechapel Gallery and NEON, a non-profit organisation in Athens. Building links between emerging curators in London and across Greece, the prize celebrates the exchange of ideas and innovations in the presentation of contemporary art.
Emerging curators are invited by the Gallery to devise an exhibition proposal drawing from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, which includes 500 artworks by 170 international and Greek artists. The best submission received the award at a ceremony at the Whitechapel Gallery this evening, Thursday 4 December.
Curator Elina Axioti was chosen as the third recipient of the NEON Curatorial Award for her proposal ‘Civilisation Lost’, which combines modern and contemporary works by Thomas Hirschhorn, Sarah Lucas, Gilbert & George, Bruce Nauman and others with an investigation of archaeology. Set in the basement storage spaces of a modern office building in downtown Athens, the proposed exhibition imagines a section of the ancient Athenian ‘long walls’ preserved in the foundations, and places artworks against this unique setting. For the proposal Elina Axioti was interested in the concept of Wunderkammern, the first halls in which archaeology was ‘determined as a premature pseudo-science’, and objects were used as ‘elements that were holding narrations’.
The judging panel for the 2014 NEON Curatorial Award consisted of three curators: Nico de Oliveira, London Metropolitan University, Polly Staple, Chisenhale Gallery and Andrea Tarsia, Royal Academy of Arts and was moderated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, Whitechapel Gallery.
Of the winning proposal the judging panel commented: ‘Axioti addresses strong themes of current interest in her proposal. She looks at the D.Daskalopoulos Collection in a new way, for both a local and an international audience. The suggested venue for the exhibition, a space which is normally hidden from public access, is unique and captivating.’
Elina Axioti is a PhD student at the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte at Humboldt University in Berlin. She studied Architecture and Humanities and Cultural Studies at the University of Thessaly in Greece and the London Consortium, University of London. Axioti also worked as an assistant curator for the exhibition ‘Heaven Live’ at the 2nd Athens Biennale in 2009. Axioti is also a grant recipient of NEON scholarships in 2014.