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"Victor Vasarely International Art contest for Art in public space "
in the city of P écs, Hongrie

Wednesday the 1st er December

An initiative for the development of art in public space

La Fondation Vasarely

For Pécs the plan of the 2010 European Capital of Culture year program was formulated in a vision of a new social and economic perspective, where the city’s culture, institutions and physical spaces have received particular attention. The functioning of democracy is impossible to imagine without the social life ongoing in public spaces. Therefore, besides the established of the cultural facilities, large-scale developments have been implemented in public spaces up until 2010. Today we are witnessing the result and we can see how the redefined urban spaces have become a factor in shaping the consciousness of community, and a useful tool in serving cultural life.

In connection with the renewal of public spaces, the city of Pécs, in collaboration with the Vasarely Foundation in Aix-en-Provence initiate the establishment of an international art prize named after Victor Vasarely, the famous artist born in Pécs in 1906. It is envisaged that the prize will be announced every three years in various European cities with the assistance of the founders. Each time a project with the task to develop art in public space will be declared, the winner of the international art competition will be awarded by the jury.

The first steps

In the era of state socialism urban public areas were characterised by limited social publicity, and ever since they have been regarded as territories to be conquered in Hungary in order to restore their community-forming power. Still, nearly two decades had passed after the change of the political regime before urban investments were made in Pécs aimed at the development of public areas. Within a public area revitalisation programme nearly thirty square reconstructions realized in the last few years have offered an exceptional opportunity for developing the social functions of the urban environment. In order to support the results of the public area revitalisation programme in Pécs and introduce socially devoted art practices, the Chamber of Southern Transdanubian Architects and the Vasarely Foundation in Aix-en-Provence announced an international public space art competition in 2010. In the scope of the competition the creators were asked to design public space works of art strengthening the social and cultural functions of the urban environment – to realize works of art that are presently without example in the public areas of Pécs. The program of the competition announcement defined its aims as the first step of a long-term art development process, and it recommended that in the interest of continuing the work, the City of Pécs and the Vasarely Foundation establish an international art prize aiming at the development of arts in public spaces.

In order to ensure professional competences the competition in 2010 was realized in a curator system. The curator of the competition was Héctor Solari, architect and media artist living in Germany. The art concept prepared by the curator determined the exact aims of the competition, and the curator made proposals relating to the selection of the sites of intervention. The schedule of the competition and the programme of the prize foundation was prepared on the basis of the idea of Christian Gracza, Robert Bosch Foundation cultural manager in Pécs. 33 works were submitted during the competition, and three of them were ranked by the international jury. The first-place design was awarded the title of winner of the competition, and on the basis of the decision of the evaluating committee seven works are shown in the exhibition presenting the competition and in the catalogue. The jury recommended that the winning design be realized. The parties announcing the competition – in accordance with the original plans – have started the realization of the work of art.