The VÚB Foundation awards the winners of the 15th edition of the painting competition

The hard-tested field of art receives support from the VÚB Foundation.

Natália Šimonová, Ev van Hettmer and Miroslav Sandanus are three authors, whose work have earned the highest recognition of the international jury of the Maľba competition. The 15th year of the Initiative of the VÚB Foundation confirmed that Slovakia has a great perspective in terms of growing young artists. At the same time, this jubilee year pointed out the necessity of supporting these artists. The three winners won a total of 20 000 euros as a stake for their future, as well as the attention of the domestic art scene. The competition "Maľba – VÚB Foundation Prize for Painting work for young artists" also has an overlap in the public during this specific year. A set of 20 final works is on display publicly in Bratislava's Nedbalka Gallery.

The task of independently assessing the artistic value of the works of the young painters involved was taken up by four renowned experts in fine arts: director of the Slovak National Gallery Alexandra Kusá as chairwoman of the jury, art historian and curator of Kunsthalle in The Austrian Krems Andreas Hoffer, Czech curator, writer and artistic columnist Ondřej Horák and acclaimed Hungarian painter Pál Gerber.

You can read more about the jury here.

In the first round, the expert jury selected the final 20 from among the 115 registered works, which it dealt with more deeply in the second round and from which it identified three winners:

1. place - Natália Šimonová

Author of the winning work of the 15. The painting competition was decided by experts to be Natalia Šimonová. This is a young painter who took part in the competition for the first time. Natalia Šimonová received a prestigious title and valuable reference from renowned personalities for her work Chain and also the highest reward from the VÚB Foundation in the amount of 10 000 euros.

2. place - Ev van Hettmer


The second place and the funds for further artistic progress of 6 500 euros were taken by the painter Ev van Hettmer. The painting, titled Positive vibes only, captivated the jury with its 100th-minute and sensual bad painting, which has long been its author's programme, hand in hand with the theme of female sexuality or physicality. Although based on its own intimate experience, it serves these themes easily and without a peasant, making an imperfect or naïve childish painting look authentic and believable. For a young artist, this is the second time she won the second place in the Painting competition.

3. place - Miroslav Sandanus 

In third place with a financial reward of 3 500 euros was Miroslav Sandanus with his work Emptiness. The theme is part of the author's long-term programme, which deals with the environmental theme - fascinated by landfills, waste, weather changes, and the destruction of the planet. The jury appreciated the way it portrays these situations." It portraits them in the spirit of classical tradition ranging from nice to a melancholic paintings with a harsh message. It is this contrast that contributes to the unexpected urgency of his work.

Public exposition this year as well

This year, the VÚB Foundation also wants to promote cultural events in another form, because of the current situation and a limited public access to art. In the traditional cooperation the exhibition of the painting by the finalists of the 15th year of painting competition will be held at the Nedbalka Gallery in Bratislava. The public can thus, in accordance with current security measures, inspect the final 20 works, this year the following young painters and painters will figure (in alphabetical order): Ján Bátorek, Jana Bednárová, Marek Burcl, Peter Cvik, Juraj Ďuriš, Svetlana Violet, Monika Germušková, Paulina Halasová, Ev van Hettmer, Dominik Hlinka, Marek Jarotta, Martin Kiman, Rita Koszorús, Richard Moravčík, Michaela Murín, Jakub Navratilova, Tatiana Ondzíková, Ivana Oroszová, Miroslav Sandanus and Natalia Šimonová.

The free exhibition is open from 23 October to 22 November 2020. The date of the exhibition will be extended due to Covid-19 by the time of closing the Nedbalka Gallery, until to 6 December 2020.

The finalists' works can be viewed in the Gallery.


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