Award Ceremony of the Igor Zabel Award 2020


The award ceremony and presentation of the laureate and grant recipients was streamed on 4 December 2020. The international conference The Entire World as Our World and the discussion Borderline Syndrome and Energies of Defence also took place on the occasion of the 2020 award programme.

Photo: Nada Žgank

about the award

The Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory acknowledges exceptional achievements of curators, art historians, theorists, art writers, and critics whose work supports, develops or investigates visual art and culture in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Named in honour of the distinguished Slovenian curator and art historian Igor Zabel (1958–2005), the award, an initiative of the ERSTE Foundation, has been conferred biennially since 2008. With total prize money of EUR 76,000, it represents one of the most generous and prestigious awards for cultural activities related to Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.

A three-member international jury selects the laureate and recipients of two grants based on proposals given by ten nominators. The third grant is selected by the laureate.


Curator, art historian, and director of the Moderna galerija
Ljubljana, Slovenia

The jury has awarded Zdenka Badovinac the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory 2020 for her outstanding institutional leadership as the director of the Moderna galerija/Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM) in Ljubljana as well as for her radical curatorial work and significant contributions as a writer and editor to international discourses on the geopolitics of contemporary art in Eastern Europe and global art history. Zdenka Badovinac has been one of the most important and rigorous locally rooted and globally connected professionals in the field of cultural production in recent decades.


Jury's statement

grant recipients according to the jury's selection

Activist, cultural theorist, and curator
Skopje, North Macedonia

The Igor Zabel Award Grant 2020 is given to Slavcho Dimitrov in recognition of his exceptional contributions to reimagining the cultural and social life of the Western Balkans region, and for bringing LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights and struggles to the heart of this vision. As marginalized communities face increasing repression and violence, Slavcho Dimitrov’s work across art and activism exemplifies how we might respond productively and urgently to this situation.

Jury's statement

Curator, dramaturg, and cultural worker
Budapest, Hungary / Vienna, Austria

The Igor Zabel Award Grant 2020 is given to Katalin Erdődi in recognition of her locally embedded and inclusive curatorial practice, distinguished by its scope as well as by its critically reflexive and joyful qualities. Informed by a variety of artistic and activist methods, her work aims to enhance bottom-up social participation and cross-disciplinary collaboration, trigger processes of democratization, and raise ecological awareness.

Jury's statement

grant recipient according to the laureate's selection

Curator, art historian, and art writer
Zagreb, Croatia

The Igor Zabel Award Grant 2020 is given to Ivana Bago in recognition of her excellence and insistence on the art historical research, writing, and exhibiting of Yugoslav and Eastern European art in the past decade as well as for her remarkable contribution to the formation of new approaches to writing and curating in this region.

Laureate's statement

jury and nominators

JURY 2020
Antony Gardner, art historian, Oxford
Šejla Kamerić, artist, Sarajevo
Franciska Zólyom, curator and director of the GfZK – Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig

Pawel Althamer • Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez • Vjera Borozan • Mira Gakjina • Herwig Höller • Eva Khachatryan • József Mélyi • Deimantas Narkevičius • Sven Spieker • Raluca Voinea