Essl Art Award CEE

The Vienna Insurance Group is a long-term partner of the Essl Museum and a joint sponsor, together with bauMax, of the ESSL ART AWARD CEE. This award was created in 2005 by husband and wife art collectors Agnes and Karlheinz Essl to promote art students from Central and Eastern Europe, and has been awarded every other year since then.

In addition to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, in 2009 Romania was represented for the first time. Students from art academies in all of these countries submitted their work via the Internet to apply for the award. Ten nominees from each country were chosen by an international jury, and the nominees presented their works in the capital cities of these six countries in May 2009. The jury awarded three prizes for each country: 1st prize, 2nd prize and, for the first time, the Vienna Insurance Group’s own Special Invitation award.

  • V.I.G. Group Annual Report: Platform for young artists
  • Young artists from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania, who received the Vienna Insurance Group promotional award were also given the opportunity to present themselves and selected artwork on the respective chapter title pages in this annual report (see Essl Art Awards CEE). This opens up another platform these artists can use to draw attention to their work.
  • Exhibition: Young Artists from the CEE region
  • The VIG Special Invitation award also offered these young artists the opportunity to present their work to the public at large in the Vienna Insurance Group headquarters in the heart of Vienna. This symbolically widens the bridge between the Essl Museum and the Vienna Insurance Group, while offering the art students an additional forum and public exhibition space for their work.

The “Young Artists from the CEE region” exhibition was open to the public free of charge in the exhibition centre of the Ringturm building from 10 February 2010 to 5 March 2010. The exhibition was devoted to the works of the six V.I.G. Special Invitation award winners, and gave visitors fascinating insights into the works of these young artists. The Vienna Insurance Group gives particular priority to the cross-border promotion of discussion and understanding of current and future art movements emanating from this region.

“Architecture in the Ringturm” exhibition series

Designed by renowned architect Erich Boltenstern, the Ringturm, headquarters of the Vienna Insurance Group, has been a place for people to meet and exchange ideas since its opening in 1955. The former cash hall of the Ringturm, which was converted into a modern exhibition centre by Boris Podrecca, has hosted the “Architecture in the Ringturm” exhibition series regularly since 1998. Free admission to this series has made architecture accessible to a wide public.

Ringturm Architectural Centre

The following exhibitions were open for viewing in 2009


22 January 2009 – 30 April 2009
Wiener Residential Architecture - Innovative. Social. Ecological.
This exhibition provided a detailed view of residential architecture in Vienna, from its beginnings right up to the present, and was previously shown at the Architecture Biennale 2008 in Venice and Milan.


2 July 2009 – 16 October 2009
Sketches for the Future – Werner Sobek
This exhibit was dedicated to the intersection between architecture and construction, an area that is becoming increasingly important in structural design. Werner Sobek’s many and varied activities make him one of the most important international protagonists in this area.


4 November 2009 – 8 January 2010
Gentle Savages – The Viennese Model
The internationally recognised Vienna approach to “gentle urban renewal” is closely linked to the Vienna urban renewal office (Gebietsbetreuung) model. A multimedia exhibition presented a living portrait of the work of the Vienna urban renewal offices, showing their most diverse and daring projects.


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