Eye Art & Film Prize

Marking a collaboration between Eye, the Dutch film museum and the Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund since 2015, the Eye Art & Film Prize is set to highlight the intricate relation between contemporary art and film. The annual 25,000 GBP prize is to fund the making of new work by a living artist. The aim of the prize is to support and promote the artist or filmmaker whose work unites art and film, and demonstrates quality of thought, imagination and artistic excellence.

In April 2020, American artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph was the recipient of the sixth Eye Art & Film Prize. Previous winners of the prestigious prize are Hito Steyerl (2015), Ben Rivers (2016), Wang Bing (2017), Francis Alÿs (2018) and Meriem Bennani (2019).

Eye’s commitment to exploring the interface between art and film—both historical and contemporary developments—is clearly illustrated by its programming of exhibitions, film programmes, events, lectures and symposia. The many artists/filmmakers that have been the subject of dedicated exhibitions include Yang Fudong, Oskar Fischinger, Brothers Quay, Fiona Tan, Anthony McCall, Isaac Julien, David Maljkovic, Douglas Gordon, Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller, Nicolas Provost, and Slater Bradley, William Kentridge, Tacita Dean, Rosa Barba, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva.

With the undeniable intimate relationship between the moving image and contemporary arts, it is about time for a prize for work that brings these two art forms together. Eye is delighted that the PJLF Arts Fund has made the creation of this prize possible, and, with our additional commitment to stage an exhibition every four years of the three previous years’ Eye Prize winners, Eye will cement its position as a leading and international institution for film and art. - Sandra den Hamer, CEO of Eye

Artists/filmmakers cannot apply for the Eye Art & Film Prize, it’s not an open call. The international advisory board will make the selection of nominated candidates for the Eye Art & Film Prize to present to the Eye Prize jury. An international jury consisting of prominent figures from the worlds of art and cinema will select the recipient. The selection will be made on the basis of the recipient's body of work—an artist who is developing a significant oeuvre. The first Eye Prize winners’ exhibition took take place in 2018.

film & art

Film, arguably the most dynamic of all the arts, only came into being in the late 19th century. In the late 1920s, artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Luis Buñuel and Hans Richter, averse to the commercial expressions of film, recognised the possibilities of film as a medium for their art. It would not be until the 1960s that cinema would play again such an important role in art when artists such as Andy Warhol, Anthony McCall and Michael Snow gave film the status of museum art.

The medium of film made its definitive breakthrough in the arts in the mid-nineties. Taking advantage of the digital revolution, inexpensive video projectors and advancing technology, a new generation of artists saw film and moving images as a perfect means of expression for their era. Artists such as Douglas Gordon, Steve McQueen, Fiona Tan and Isaac Julian, Aernout Mik, Pipilotti Rist and many others moved the 'white box' into a 'black box'.

Today, the landscape of the moving image continues to open up and reveal that an increasingly large number of filmmakers are also liberating themselves from the confines of the cinema and discovering the possibilities of the three-dimensional exhibition space. Vast, exuberant installations covering several screens, but also small and intimate presentations with a single screen or LCD monitor as part of a multimedia installation, and all things in between, demonstrate that the fringe between Art and Film has come of age.

PJLF Arts Fund

The Eye Art & Film Prize is supported by the British Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund. The PJLF Arts Fund was set up in 2011 to support artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians. Celebrated author Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915–2011) and photographer Joan Leigh Fermor (1911–2003) were keenly interested and involved in the arts. The Paddy Leigh Fermor Archive and the Joan Leigh Fermor Archive are housed at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

jury and advisory board

jury of eye art & film prize 2019
  • Sandra den Hamer, Chair (Netherlands) | Director of Eye Filmmuseum
  • Solange Farkas (Brazil) | Director and curator of Associação Cultural Videobrasil
  • Andrea Lissoni (Italy/Germany) | Artistic Director Haus der Kunst München
  • Aernout Mik (Netherlands) | Artist
  • Olivia Stewart (United Kingdom/Italy) | Trustee PJLF Arts Fund, Director BellRock Script & Directing Workshops, Curator.
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand) | Film director
international advisory board eye art & film prize 2019
  • Jaap Guldemond, head of advisory board (Netherlands) | Director of exhibitions, Eye Filmmuseum
  • Simon Field (Britain) | Producer
  • Nalini Malani (India) | Filmmaker, artist
  • Sarah Perks (Britain) | Curator, Professor of MIMA School of Art & Design, and Programme Advisor for BFI London Film Festival
  • Susanne Pfeffer (Germany) | Director Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt
  • Rachel Spence (Britain) | Writer on art, poet
  • Cuauhtémoc Medina (Mexico) | Curator, journalist, art historian

for further information, please contact

Press: Jane Wang, Pickles PR, jane@picklespr.com
Eye Art & Film Prize: Daan Gielis, Coordinator, Eye Prize, daangielis@eyefilm.nl

credits photos

left: Esmee Ottema

right: Ten Thousand Waves by Isaac Julien (photography Hans Wilschut)