Article 2 of the Constitution of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation reads as follows:
Within the context of the cultural traditions of Europe in general and the ideas of Erasmus in particular, the aim of the Foundation is to enhance the position of the humanities, social sciences and the arts. The emphasis is on tolerance, cultural pluralism and non-dogmatic, critical thinking. The Foundation endeavours to achieve this aim through the award of prizes and by other means. A money prize is awarded under the name of Erasmus Prize.
In accordance with this article, the Board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation has decided to award the Erasmus Prize for the year 2007 to Péter Forgács. The Prize is awarded to him on the following grounds:
- Péter Forgács has built up a large collection of amateur and home movies and made this collection accessible for scientific research and artistic inspiration.
- Based on this found footage, Mr Forgács has created an impressive oeuvre of films, films that address important and painful episodes in the history of the 20th century, films that make people reflect on the world of today.
- His films relate events in the private lives of ordinary citizens to key events of 20th century history, and thereby bring back memories of episodes of repression and totalitarian rule.
- The films, which are the products of his ingenious artistic manipulation of found material, make a strong appeal to our cultural memory. They form an outstanding example of how memory can be kept alive and culture can be transmitted to future generations.
- The film oeuvre of Péter Forgács is characterized by a critical analysis of the sources, and a non-dogmatic, open mind to the diverse perceptions of historical truth in Europe. These Erasmian values clearly form part of Mr Forgács’ intellectual and personal approach to the subject matter of his films.