The hard facts of the ESSL ART AWARD so far: 8 years, 7 countries, 33 art academies, 1500 art students, more than 4000 works submitted, 18 alternating jury members, 27 exhibitions in 8 countries, 46 award winners and 23 special invitations, among them 38 women and 31 men, born between 1974 and 1988.

Behind these dispassionate facts and figures lies, a unique project that by now covers eight countries (new in 2013: Turkey!)  in Central and South-Eastern Europe.

Established in 2005 the ESSL ART AWARD is dedicated to the discovery and support of young creative talents while being still in education and gives them the opportunity to get in contact with an international art scene.

Artwork used by Suzana Brborovic - Postcards 1 (2010) (c) courtesy the artist

Suzana Brborović (Winner ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2011, Slovenia), Postcards (Detail), 2010, © Essl Private Collection, Photo: Mischa Nawrata, Vienna

The criteria for participation at the ESSL ART AWARD are very open: the participants only need to be enrolled at an art university in one of the participating countries, otherwise there are no restrictions as to art media or age. The unified online application process is not only a necessity given the great number of applicants, but it is also a fair way of making sure that all of the entries (over 1000 in 2011) can be seen and assessed by each and every jury member.

Out of all these entries, 10 nominees per country are chosen and presented in an exhibition in the respective countries. The jury (consisting of 11 international jury members) awards 2 winners each country with the ESSL ART AWARD, which includes not only a generous prize money, but also an invitation to show their work in a joint exhibition at the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg/Vienna.

In 2013, the ESSL ART AWARD  will be awarded for the 5th time already.

We’d like to invite students from art academies in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia and now for the first time also Turkey, to apply for the award. The online application opens on May, 1st.  Once more we’d like to emphasize the fact that ALL MEDIA IS ALLOWED.

Please visit our website to read the Award Guidelines and apply for the ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2013:  Guidelines and Facts

REGISTRATION PERIOD: 1 May 2012 – 30 June 2012

SUBMISSION PERIOD: until 31 August 2012


We have asked some former winners of the ESSL ART AWARD, what winning the award has meant to them:

Theodora Axente - Semblance (c) foto courtesy the artist
Theodora Axente – Semblance, © Essl Private Collection, Photo: artist
 Teodora Axente (2011)

ESSL ART AWARD has meant to me a challenge and launch at a new artistic space. This award has given me the chance to be known internationally. Exposure in a space already accredited and known, the Essl Museum, is a first and important step in my career.

Emöke Bada (2011)

The ESSL ART AWARD  can be counted as a stepping point in a young artist’s career. For me the most significant experience was the immensely professional attitude that permeated the whole affair while it lasted.

Suzana Brborovic - Postcards 1 (2010) (c) courtesy the artist
Suzana Brborovic – Postcards 1 (2010),  © Essl Private Collection, Photo: Mischa Nawrata, Vienna
 Suzanna Brborovic (2011)

I heard about ESSL ART AWARD from my mentor in school and he encouraged me and my colleagues to apply. I have never imagined I could win. For me the ESSL ART AWARD was an opportunity to prove myself as an emerging artist in my country. It helped me getting my first solo show and good publicity. It is a prize that gives you confidence about your own work and you get even braver with your future works. Presenting me and the works of other winners at the Essl Museum in Vienna is the greatest experience of all. I think every student who has interest should apply and try themselves and their art.

Elena Kaludova (2011)

For me that chance came right on time. I received the award just a few months after I was accepted to study in Berlin. It gave me confidence which I needed being on a new place and at the same time it gave me the financial support in order to start studying without being suppressed by the circumstances.

Matej Sitar (2009)

The ESSL ART AWARD gives the artist a great exposure and a good opportunity to strengthen their exhibition experience and make valuable contacts in the art world.

Jakub Nepraš :  Babylon Plant, 2006 © Sammlung Essl Privatstiftung, Fotonachweis: Archiv des Künstlers
Jakub Nepraš : Babylon Plant, 2006 © Essl Private Collection, Photo: artists‘ archive
 Jakub Nepraš (2007)

Of course winning the ESSL ART AWARD is always very good and helpful. It’s a world-wide known and respected award so it brings to young artists a great opportunity to be visible as well for foreign curators, collectors and all professionals from the art field. Further more being part of your collection is a great honour and it can bring to young artist amazing change to be part of an exhibition with big names. Such as now I’m exhibiting together with names like Nam Jun Paik, Bill Viola, Julian Opie etc. It’s definitely a big event, privilege and benefit for me. Another plus is that curatorial team from the Essl museum follows up career of artists in their collection. That brings other possibilities and synergy for future. Definitely its worth to apply for ESSL ART AWARD.

(Jakub Nepraš’ work “Babylon Tree” can currently be seen in the video art exhibition >SPOTLIGHTS< at the Essl Museum.)

Ana Sluga (2007)

Having a group exhibition at the Essl Museum was a spectacular event, all young winners got a chance to meet very valuable people from the art world. Through the Museum I got some very interesting calls which made me possible to exhibit in France, Spain, Austria and Germany.


  1. Pingback: ESSL ART AWARD – CALL FOR ENTRIES ! | Maia Stefana Oprea·

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