Back in October we brought you details of some of the contenders that were in the running for this year’s Kandinsky Prize for Russian contemporary art. Well the winners of each of the prize’s three categories were announced at a ceremony at the Garage exhibition centre in Moscow back on December 16th and we’ve got the details of who was walking away happy at the end of the night. This years awards were presented by British director Peter Greenaway whose films are renowned for the clear influence that Renaissance, Baroque and early Flemish painting has upon them. Greenaway delivered the now traditional guest lecture, exploring the role of painting in modern art, and as a cinematographer he admitted that he had an, “enormous respect for painting and painters,” going on to say, “painters always lead the way, they are our eyes, they train us to see, they have created the visible man-made world.”

He went on to argue that most modern day cinema is, as he termed it, “a second-hand medium”, since much of it is based on existing literary texts, and said that unlike paintings most of it was designed to be enjoyed passively in the dark and didn’t promote any form of discourse. Thankfully the same can’t be said for this year’s prize-winning entries, although painting didn’t feature. The Media Project Of The Year winner was Anastasia Ryabova for her work on the Artists Private Collections website. The site has been described as a “utopia realised in virtual space” and aims to bring about the autonomy of art from the influence of “the market, curators and other intermediaries that interfere in the nexus of artist, work and spectator” - Ryabova picked up €10,000 ($13,000) as part of the award.

The winner of The Young Artist Award was 26 year old Polina Kanis from Leningrad whose video installation Eggs, showed her on a building rooftop trying to catch eggs that come flying from all directions, using just her skirt. The video shows the artist running from side to side catching some but not all of the eggs, and according to the official description, the work is a “statement on the gender status of the individual, as part of the social structure of prescribed relations between the sexes” - Kanis won a three month stay at the Villa Romana del Casale, in Sicily as part of the prize.

Finally the main Artist Of The Year award was presented to Moscow based artist Yury Albert for his 2009 installation, Moscow Poll. The work comprises a series of eight panels with questions about art written on them, some political and concrete, others more theoretical and abstract. As the poll progresses, the questions become increasingly more complex until the final question asks, “Do you really think what you are looking at right now is art?”

Clearly the prize jury did, and Albert was the recipient of the main award and the €40,000 ($52,000) cash prize that goes along with it. As with any prize named in honour of an artist long after they are dead, it’s difficult to imagine what Kandinsky’s reactions would have been to the various prize-winning entries that were being honoured in his name. Well, the aim of the Kandinsky Prize is to promote Russian contemporary art and to reinforce Russia’s status within the art world, and we’re pretty sure that Wassily would have been happy with that.