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2015.12.29 Tue, by
International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) 2, 2015 First Prizewinner David Balzer

One of the main purposes of the new International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC2) and of the new International Association of Art Critics (AICA), which has offered its whole hearted support, is to encourage engaged, but disinterested, writing about contemporary art. This is to create space for reflexion, away from the immediate financial and social pressures of an over heated market.

The jury were impressed with the range and variety of the submissions, which showed that good writing and critical engagement are in plentiful supply, even if they are not always given the space they deserve in the media. The deliberate choice of an exhibition review format, restricted to 1,500 words or 2,000 Chinese characters, is to encourage writers to move away from the longer, essayistic form, most familiar from the specially commissioned catalogue essay and to bring back substance to the in-depth review that is increasingly displaced by promotional literature of all kind.

The jury immediately became aware of two predominant tendencies – towards some form of academic discourse, more concerned with analyzing the theoretical bases of the work, and the more immediate kind of journalistic response situating the work more precisely in the public domain. The best writing was a combination of both. All writing about art is a form of translation of thoughts, ideas and perceptions from one language to another, so in the end it seemed less difficult than might be supposed to judge a group of essays in the original language, and in translation.

In the jury’s opinion, “David Balzer combines ease of expression with a confident mastery of his subject. His text and range of reference form a perfect counterpart to Douglas Coupeland’s work, shows keen critical engagement and grabs the