Artes Mundi 'building Wales' visual art infrastructure'

The new boss of the UK's largest visual arts prize says he wants Wales to see the benefits of hosting the international competition.

Ben Borthwick is chief executive and artistic director of Cardiff-based contemporary arts contest Artes Mundi.

The award, made every two years, has a £40,000 prize.

Changes Mr Borthwick has made to the 2012 event include one of the runners-up presenting a solo exhibition at the Mostyn gallery in Llandudno, Conwy.

Mr Borthwick, who joined the competition from Tate Modern last year, said Wales was still seen as the "land of song" rather than as a source of visual arts.

Image caption Ben Borthwick said he wanted to help people in Wales 'access' Artes Mundi

"The visual arts in Wales haven't developed in quite the same way as across the UK," he said.

"Artes Mundi was set up in order to try and help build that infrastructure and I think it has done that very successfully .

"In the future, we will be presenting an exhibition in Mostyn. That's in order to help audiences in Wales access Artes Mundi.

"I think it very important in this new phase - I've just arrived a few months ago - that we look to see how we can open Artes Mundi up to the rest of the country."

The competition is inviting entries for Artes Mundi 5.

In addition to the £40,000 winner's prize, there will be £4,000 for each of the six shortlisted artists in the 2012 event.

The winner will show his or her work in almost 800sqm (8,600sq ft) of new contemporary art galleries at Wales' National Museum of Art, which open this July at the National Museum Cardiff.

The competition is moving from the spring next year to the autumn to coincide with other international visual arts events.

Mr Borthwick, said: "By moving Artes Mundi 5 to the autumn, it will join a group of headline events in the international visual arts calendar that also take place in the UK during that season."

"These include the Turner Prize, Frieze Art Fair and Liverpool Biennial," he added.

It is the "appropriate context in which Artes Mundi will celebrate its tenth anniversary", Mr Borthwck said.

Artes Mundi was established in 2002 and supports contemporary visual artists from around the world who are still gaining international recognition.

Martin Barlow, director of Mostyn, said its involvement in the competition was "a significant development for the visual arts in Wales".

In 2013, the Llandudno gallery will stage a solo exhibition of one of the shortlisted artists from the next Artes Mundi competition.

Nominations for Artes Mundi 5 close on 26 June.

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