The Sovereign European Art Prize

9 Jun 2010 – 20 Jun 2010

Barbican Centre

London, United Kingdom

Travel Information

  • Moorgate / Barbican

Save Event: The Sovereign European Art Prize

I've seen this

People who have saved this event:


British artist Nicolas Ruston has been shortlisted for the €25,000 Sovereign European Art Prize for his recent silicone painting Brave New World.


Brave New World was inspired by an article published by the Independent newspaper, on the 4th of April 1996, reporting the race by Japanese and American companies to acquire patents to human DNA sequences for future development and marketing. Linking this commodification of our common gene-pool to the changing representation of Nature in art, Ruston references the artificial manipulation of natural products and the normalisation of this process with the aid of the media and advertising. To date, the artist has produced less than 10 silicone paintings. Ruston is an avid collector of consumer culture paraphernalia which, archived over many years as artefacts, provide the impetus for his creations. His use of idiosyncratic materials — MDF, supermarket shelves, household paints and silicone — and methods of execution — dripped, splashed, sliced, carved or, in the case of Brave New World, applied with a caulking gun — serve to subvert and contradict. Here the image was sourced from an incidental photograph, scanned, enhanced, pixelated and rendered on board with silicone, a highly toxic material in its unstable form. This art-making process - image selection, material (ubiquitous in plastic surgery enhancement) and the manner of execution, requiring a laboratory environment — is integral to reading the content of his work. The Sovereign European Art Prize was established in 2005 to give recognition to the region's most exciting established and emerging contemporary artists. This year it has received a record number of entries, with artists nominated by art experts from over 30 European countries. The judges are Sir Peter Blake (artist), Tim Marlow (White Cube), Philly Adams (Saatchi Gallery), Gavin Turk (artist), Robert Punkenkhofer (Art & Idea), Joseph Backstein (Moscow Biennale) and Nasser Azam (artist). The general public are also invited to cast their votes online: http://www.sovereignartfoundation.com/artprizes/europe/gallery/?year=2009 The artist with the most votes will win the public vote prize of €1,000. The winner of the €25,000 first prize will be selected during the exhibition of shortlisted works at the Barbican Centre, London from 9th - 20th June, 2010. All works, excluding the main prize winner, will be available to purchase at a gala auction dinner. All proceeds will be split 50:50 between the Foundation and the artists. This year The Sovereign Art Foundation will use the funds raised to support the Barbican Centre Trust. For further information please visit:


Have you been to this event? What do you think? Join the discussion here!
Remember, you can include links to your instagram pictures and to videos.