Villa Romana Fellows 2018
Jeewi Lee, Christophe Ndabananiye, Lerato Shadi and Viron Erol Vert are the Villa Romana Fellows 2018. They will live and work at Villa Romana in Florence from February to November 2018. The Fellows, selected from a short list of candidates, were nominated by a jury, composed this year of Nasan Tur, artist, and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and Curator at Large of documenta 14.
Jeewi Lee, born 1987 in Seoul, lives in Berlin. She has studied painting at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and at Hunter College of New York. Her site-specific installations, actions and series of images focus on the themes of daily events or performances, which are perceived only as traces in the final work. These traces are evidence of movements (in the urban or in the exhibition space) and do simultaneously reflect the process of their production. Jeewi Lee has participated in numerous collective shows. She is part of the 2014 and 2017 Festival of Future Nows at the Neue Nationalgalerie of Berlin.
Christophe Ndabananiye, born 1977 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, since 2009 lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Hochschule der Bildende Künste of Saarbrücken. As a painter, he’s the author of a series of self-portraits informed by themes of traumatic experiences related to escape, family, homeland and mother tongue. Then he began using shoes as an embodiment of the movement of the individual and of the force of gravity. In his own country, Congo, the artist photographs the shoes of unknown people and then depicts them in paintings or installations. In his latest paintings he is developing his work on memory on paper and polystyrene sheets. Christophe Ndabananiye has worked with the Medienlabor zur Kunst Afrikas (Media laboratory for African art) at the Freie University of Berlin and has participated in several exhibitions in project spaces, among others at the SAVVY Contemporary and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin.
Lerato Shadi, born 1979 in Mafikeg, South Africa, lives and works in Berlin. She studied art at the University of Johannesburg. Her practice investigates the politics of the body, of the female body, the body of the black South African woman. In her work Lerato deals with themes of institutional violence, of the patriarchal and colonial strategies of exclusion and oblivion and of the resistance through subjective narratives. Shadi works with different media including drawing, performance and video. Her works have been presented in many museums and project speces, including the Biennials of Moscow and Dakar.
Viron Erol Vert, born 1975 in Germany, lives and works in Istanbul and Berlin. He studied at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, and has further education in fashion and textile design. With his objects and installations, Vert confronts himself with the narratives of Mediterranean historiography and translates their characters into his own visual codes. Recently, he installed inside the Galerie Wedding in Berlin a Dreamatory, a sort of dormitory in which he invites visitors to make space for their dreams in their daily lives. Among his solo shows venues are the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, the gallery Galerist in Istanbul and the Berghain in Berlin.
The Villa Romana Prize is awarded every year to talented artists resident in Germany. They are provided with a studio apartment in the artist residency at the Villa Romana in Florence and they receive a stipend. At the end of their residency, the fellows all together conceive a publication in the form of an artists’ book.
The Villa Romana is a non-profit institution that receives considerable sponsorship from the Deutsche Bank Stiftung and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, as well as other private individuals. The Villa Romana Prize is the oldest German art prize and has been awarded since 1905. Previous fellows have included Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz, Georg Baselitz, Anna Oppermann, Michael Buthe and many other artists who had co-written the history of modern.