(Above) Celina Portella, 1st place winner; (below) winning artwork "Corte/1"; Credit: Pinacothèque / Celina Portella

The Pinacothèque private museum has announced the winners of the 7th edition of its Luxembourg Art Prize.

This year's three winning artists hail from Brazil, Canada and Lithuania, respectively:

  • 1st place winner: Celina Portella
  • 2nd place winner: Francis O'Shaughnessy
  • 3rd place winner: Laisvydė Šalčiūtė

Together, the three winners will share €80,000 prize in accordance with their ranking established by the independent jury. The 1st place winner will receive €50,000, the 2nd place winner €20,000 and the 3rd place winner €10,000. The artists are free to spend this prize money as they please.

Celina Portella (Brazil), 1st place winner

Celina Portella was born in 1977 in Rio de Janeiro, where she currently lives and works. Celina obtained a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis in France and a degree in Design & Visual Communication from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Her inspiration comes from the following artists: Andrea Fraser, Erwin Wurm, Helena Almeida, Yvonne Rainer, Ana Linnemann, Lenora de Barros, Carmela Gross, Trisha Brown, Liliana Porter, Rebecca Horn, Fischli & Weiss, Robert Morris, Richard Sierra and Dennis Oppenheim.

Her artwork selected for the 2021 Luxembourg Art Prize is entitled "Corte/1" (Cut/1), 2019, Cut-out photography, 135 x 95 cm (53 x 37 in.). Celina explained: "In the work 'Corte/1', the paper upon which the photograph is printed is cut physically such that the actual cut matches the action depicted in the image. 'Corte/1' is part of a series in which I make the action represented in the images of the various mediums (photography, video, canvas) material. My body, interacting with the image, cuts the paper that makes it material, modifying the representation of myself and creating a link between the image and the material". 

Francis O'Shaughnessy (Canada), 2nd place winner

Francis O'Shaughnessy was born in 1980 in the city of Levis in Quebec, Canada. He obtained a PhD in Arts Studies and Practices in 2016 from the University of Quebec and currently lives in Montreal. Francis gets his inspiration from the following artists: Sally Mann, Alex Timmermans and Borut Peterlin.

His artwork selected for the 2021 Luxembourg Art Prize is entitled "Plate 58", 2020 - Wet plate collodion photography. Francis noted: "Since 2021, I've been embracing the trial and error process in my work. I have experimented (with varying degrees of success) with more than 160 wet collodion plates to finally learn how to enhance the formal textures in my creations. In some places, these textures resemble paintings, maintaining an aspect that is somewhat detached from reality. With this work, which arose during COVID-19, my goal was not to recapture the essence of (neo)pictorialism, but to use photographs to develop an idea of (without copying) contemporary painting. I use productions that promote the madness and mistakes of the artist to obtain exploded views and leave a lasting visual impression on the viewer".

Laisvydė Šalčiūtė (Lithuania), 3rd place winner 

Laisvydė Šalčiūtė was born in 1964 in Lithuania. She has been a student in the Doctor of Arts programme at the Academy of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania since 2018. She gets her inspiration from the following artists: Barbara Kruger, Grayson Perry, John Baldessari, Louise Bourgeois, Neo Rauch, Marcel Dzama and Hernan Bas.

Her artwork selected for the 2021 Luxembourg Art Prize is entitled "The Rape of Europe", 2019, woodcut, oil and acrylic on canvas, 159 x 159 cm (63 x 63 in.). Laisvydė commented: "The haloed, starry-eyed figure is my own creation. She is inspired by Melusine (or Melusina), a figure from European mythology and folklore, and can be found in all my recent work. The technique for each of these works is the same. It starts with a woodcut, after which time a spoon is used to carefully 'brush' the oil paint by hand from the 'drawing' to the canvas. Once the canvas is dry, I finish the painting by hand". She added: "I created this series featuring my character Melusine for the "Coming Out" exhibition at the Ducal Palace Museum in Mantua, Italy with the Italian sculptor Gehard Demetz in 2019. [...] The works I created for this exhibition are all about emotions. [...] I engraved the wood by hand, because the tree from which it was derived also had a body that could feel emotions; the tree has a story – it grows, it buds, countless things happen around it, and then all of a sudden, someone cuts it down. In a way, I prolong the tree's story by engraving the wood. I then create new stories by painting the canvas with the emotions of people from the modern world".

Every year the Pinacothèque awards the Luxembourg Art Prize to talented artists (amateur or professional), with no limits on age, nationality or country of residence. Spurred on by its president and founder, this private museum aims to contribute to the influence of international contemporary art in the Grand Duchy.