The annual Best of Graduates show is the only one of its kind in the Netherlands. The Ron Mandos team, together with curator Radek Vana, visited all of the graduation exhibitions of the Dutch art academies and compiled an exhibition from them. This year they selected 22 artists from 7 art academies. All exhibited artists stood the chance to win the Ron Mandos Young Blood Award and have their work included in the collection of Museum Voorlinden.
This year’s winner of the Young Blood Award is the Kosovar video artist Stephanie Rizaj.
In her graduation film for the Gerrit Rietveld Academy entitled As If Biting Iron (2019), Rizaj questions patriarchy by having a hundred anonymous women move a brutalist building. Pushing against concrete, the burden of oppression is literally and figuratively set in motion. With the film, Rizaj shows the power of a collective refusal to accept the status quo and the confidence that can be drawn from it.
Suzanne Swarts, director of Museum Voorlinden, says about the video work of winner Stephanie Rizaj:
“Rizaj shows excellent quality in visualising a narrative, she has mastered the field of camerawork, scenography, montage and sound. She manages to keep the viewer’s attention from start to finish, and to consequently affect the viewer, entering under one’s skin. The video can be considered not only a masterpiece of production, but genuinely an artistic masterpiece.”