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spacer Max Mara Art Prize for Women
In collaboration with the Whitechapel, 2007-2009
spacer news in 2006
spacer news in 2005
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spacer Max Mara Art Prize for Women
In collaboration with the Whitechapel, 2007-2009
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  The second edition of the biannual Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel was launched at the Venice Biennale in June this year by Italy’s pre-eminent fashion house, Max Mara, and the Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery Iwona Blazwick.

Judith Greer, Iwona Blazwick, Dott. Luigi Maramotti,
Cornelia Grassi, Rachel Withers
at the launch of the second edition of
the MaxMara Art Prize for Women, in collaboration with the Whitechapel
Venice Biennale 2007 © Paget Baker

This second prize follows the success of the inaugural prize [2005 – 2007] that culminated in Margaret Salmon’s remarkable exhibition at the Whitechapel in January 2007, for which she received wide-spread national and international praise. The first edition of the prize was also the winner of the prestigious Arts & Business International Award 2007.

Each MaxMara Art Prize enables an artist who has not yet had a major solo exhibition to develop her potential, providing an opportunity for them to produce new works of art. The winning artist is awarded a six-month residency in Italy and the resources to make a new work during that time. The Maramotti Collection will be given the chance to buy the resulting art-work, and the Whitechapel with Curator Bina von Stauffenberg will arrange for it to be exhibited.

Iwona Blazwick has said: “This incredible art prize dedicated to women, is tapping into the immense creative talent of female artists working in Britain today. The shortlist of five artists demonstrates the possibilities of art at the moment – from animation to painting, sculpture to sound art – it is a snapshot of contemporary art now. The offer of a six-month residency in the city of Rome and in the countryside north of Turin gives one artist the opportunity to develop a major work of art that will be acquired by one of the most important collections in Italy”,

This years’ distinguished judging panel comprising Iwona Blazwick; Cornelia Grassi, gallerist; Judith Greer, collector; Cornelia Parker, artist; Rachel Withers, writer and critic, met for the first day of judging in early September to devise a short-list of five artists. The judging panel will meet again in early December, at which time the short-listed artists will each make a presentation about their practice, ambitions and how spending time in Italy would contribute to their work. The artists will also provide details about the work they might produce during their residency.

The Short-list

Yasmeen Al Awadi (b. 1978) is of mixed Arab / British parentage and has lived much of her early life between the Middle East and the UK. She now lives and works in London, and graduated from Central Saint Martins with an MA in Fine Art. Her group shows include ‘Sixty Seconds Show’ at the Blackwater Film Festival, Dublin and ‘Recoding / Decoding’ at the Nicolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre, Denmark, in 2006. In 2007 exhibitions included ‘This Day‘, Tate Modern, London, ‘Undo’, Dazed Gallery, London, ‘Recognise’, Contemporary Art Platform, London, and ‘Bound’, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Cities are her pivotal theme, and her driving impulse behind each work is observing the more obscured narratives within rapidly growing urban landscapes. Recent work focuses on Iranian immigrant workers playing their daily game of marbles as they live in Kuwait, and migrant construction workers in Dubai. Much of Yasmeen’s work has been created in the Middle East yet she is now actively seeking new areas in which to record her work.

Georgie Hopton (b. 1967) has lived and worked in London, since she completed her degree in painting at St Martins School of Art in 1989. She has exhibited regularly over the past 16 years both in her own right and collaboratively with Josephine Soughan, and with Simon Periton as HOPE. Hopton’s work deliberately enjoys the exchange between different media, she has said; “every medium has the need to be commented on by another, often literally, so I might look to capture the quality of a painting in a photograph or to give the objects in a painting the qualities of a sculpture”. Her recent work focuses on flowers, fruit and vegetables that she has grown herself, including portraits of herself with her 'harvest'.

Melanie Jackson (b. 1968) was born in Hollywood, West Midlands. In 1992 she completed an MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art London, where she now lives and works. In 2000/2002 she was a fellow at Camberwell College of Arts, and she was a senior lecturer at Central Saint Martins School of Art from 2004/2006. Melanie won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2007 for her drawing / animation 'A Global Positioning System', and has exhibited nationally and internationally with recent solo exhibitions including Road Angel, at the Arnolfini, Bristol in 2007; and Made In China, Matt's Gallery, London 2005. She is interested in what happens in documentary film-making when the lens is replaced by drawing, in the nature of work and trade, and in news stories. She works with printed matter, sculpture and model making, moving image and sound. She is currently working on a large scale tapestry charting the story of the East Indian Ocean islands of Diego Garcia - and researching evolutionary trees and ethnographic taxonomy for a series of large scale drawings. She currently teaches Print and Digital Media BA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art.

Lisa Peachey (b. 1973) completed an MA in Fine Art at the Slade, London in 2006. Whilst at the Slade she won several awards including the Slade School Prize in 2005 and the Clare Winsten Memorial Award in 2006. She has taken part in several group exhibitions including the Jerwood Drawing Prize show, 2006. Lisa’s work considers the mysteries and mythologies of representation and image-making, with recent works concentrating on absent minded but lengthy production processes; for instance a film in which the artist is seen completely engaged in whittling Concorde from a piece of chalk. Recurrent motifs include the romantic landscape and the storm, and flight or an escape from gravity. Lisa has been curating shows with her co-curator Ellie Reid, the first of which was in April called 'Transformer', and another one opens on the 12th October called 'Phasespace'.

Hannah Rickards (b. 1979) completed her BA (Hons) Fine Art at Central Saint Martins School of Art in 2002 and currently lives and works in London. She had a solo exhibition at The Showroom, London in May - June this year and has taken part in a number of group shows including Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2003. Recent works include Birdsong [2002] for which she recorded bird song, imitated it with her own voice and returned her singing to the pitch of a bird, and Thunder [2005] for which she stretched a recording of thunder to a length of eight minutes and asked composer David Murphy to transcribe it into a suite for eight instruments. She then compressed the resulting recording back to the original length of the thunder. Nature and artifice are tightly woven in Hannah Rickards’ sound art; elaborate production machinery positions the artist’s work as a medium between original sound and its re-production.

The winner will be announced in late January 2008 at a dinner in London hosted by the Italian Ambassador, and the residency will begin in Italy in April 2008

The Residency
The Residency is divided between two locations: the first half will occur between April and June 2008 at the American Academy Rome and the second between July and September at the Cittadellarte – Pistoletto Foundation, Biella.

The American Academy in Rome is housed in a splendid series of buildings on the crest of the Janiculum hill, over-looking and with easy access to the centre of Rome. The Academy is one of the leading American overseas centres for independent study and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities.

The Academy provides a unique opportunity for interaction between artists and scholars working in up to eighteen different disciplines. The Academy community, which regularly numbers 75, includes fellows of the Rome Prize Fellowship Program as well as Residents, who are eminent artists and scholars of any nationality, invited by the Director to stay at the Academy for periods ranging from one to four months. The Academy community is also strengthened by the recipients of other fellowships, including the Max Mara Art Prize, as well as by large numbers of visiting artists and scholars of any nationality who rent rooms, apartments and studios during the course of the year. The artists and scholars in residence at the Academy are there to pursue their own independent projects. The Max Mara Art Prize winner will be provided with accommodation and a studio at the Academy. For further information visit www.aarome.org

Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto was founded in 1998 as the physical embodiment of the Progetto Arte manifesto with which the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto proposed a new role for the artist: one of direct social involvement and responsibility. The Foundation is situated within a late 19th Century disused textile mill in the middle of the historical textile district of the small and relatively remote town, Biella, Piemonte.

The Fondazione Pistoletto runs a residency program that is open to artists, professionals, students and graduates of various university faculties from any country in the world. Unlike residencies offered in other universities or academic programs, the residency program of the Fondazione Pistoletto is a research-oriented practice that operates within each discipline and is directed towards the responsible transformation of society. The residency programs are directed by Michelangelo Pistoletto, one of the most important and influential figures of the Italian Arte Povera movement. The winner of the MaxMara Art Prize will be provided with an apartment within the Foundation as well as access to the shared studio facilities available to other residents. For further information visit www.cittadellarte.it

The Whitechapel Gallery is delighted to be continuing to partner MaxMara on the Prize, which builds upon the Gallery’s tradition of presenting and championing women artists. The prize also reflects MaxMara’s strong support for talent and creativity, as well as its association with art and women.

The Maramotti family, owners of the MaxMara Fashion Group, are pre-eminent contemporary art collectors. The MaxMara Art Prize is the first time the fashion house has established an arts prize in the UK and reflects the company’s strong association with art and women.

Further information
Dorothea Jaffé: +44 (0)20 7522 7891

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