The 30th edition of the prestigious Barclays L’Atelier art competition was launched by an elaborately staged ruse at Strauss & Co. Fine Art Auctions where Stephan Welz and a team of ‘professionals’ portended to unveil the future of fine art: an automated art-making machine. The reaction amongst the art media crowd slowly changed from amazement to disbelief and then to down-right hostility at the prospects that this idea posed, before the campaign for this year’s L’Atelier was unveiled: Art doesn’t need technology to survive. Art needs people. Art needs artists. Art Needs You.
“The campaign reminds us how fundamentally important being human is to art,” says Dr. Paul Bayliss, Absa Art and Museum Curator. “Yes, machines can do almost everything, but the creative process relies on something that can never be replicated by technology: being human. Art is emotive, it is intuitive and its soul is intrinsically connected to the soul of its human creator. The L’Atelier art competition campaign this year is themed ‘Art Needs You’. We hope that this message will resonate with young visual artists who are passionate about their role in creating evocative works of art.”
Entries for the Barclays L’Atelier art competition are now open. This is also the first year that the competition will spread its roots beyond South Africa as we invite young artists from Botswana, Zambia, Ghana and Kenya to enter.
All young artists, self-taught or professionally trained, aged 21 to 35, who are residents and/or citizens of these countries, are eligible to enter. Entry forms are located on the L’Atelier website, and can be submitted until 6 March 2015.
The Art Needs You campaign was conceptualised and created by The Jupiter Drawing Room. Creative Director Dana Cullinan explains: “The campaign thought originated from our insight that art and the creation of art is intrinsically linked to our human emotions, intuition, passion and creative expression.”