Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Laure Prouvost at the Whitechapel Gallery


Laure Prouvost, winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, presents the two-part installation Farfromwords: car mirrors eat raspberries when swimming through the sun, to swallow sweet smells at the Whitechapel Gallery from 20 March – 7 April 2013The new commission is the culmination of the fourth edition of the prize. 

Laure Prouvost’s work opens new horizons of meaning by unhinging the connection between language and understanding. Her new video and installation in Gallery 1 is inspired by the aesthetic and sensuous pleasures of Italy and plays on the historic idea of visiting the Mediterranean for inspiration.

Farfromwords comprises a large-scale pavilion-like structure recalling a historical panorama. A circular space is interspersed with collaged elements, including photographic prints, paint and pairs of video monitors showing footage of moving heads and feet. This immersive environment leads to an idyllic inner space revealing a new film, Swallow (2013). The gentle rhythm of breathing accompanies surrealist imagery and shots of blue skies, ripe fruit and modern-day nymphs. By conveying visual and sensory pleasure through fragments of footage, the film alludes to events and encounters from the artist’s Italian residency split between the city of Rome and rural Biella.

The exhibition will tour to the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy from 4 May – 10 November 2013, where the work will be acquired by the collection.

A book published by the Whitechapel Gallery in collaboration with Collezione Maramotti will accompany the exhibition. Exploring the stages of the fourth edition of the Prize, the publication will include an interview with the artist and Bina von Stauffenberg, Guest Curator and essays by Daniel F. Herrmann, Whitechapel Gallery Eisler Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies and Melissa Gronlund, Editor at Afterall.

On Thursday 4 April 2013 Prouvost discusses her recent work with curator Daniel F. Herrmann. The event will be accompanied by screenings of film works by the artist including extracts from Abstractions Quotidiennes (2005), Stong Sorry (2010) and It Heat Hit (2010).

The biannual Max Mara Art Prize for Women promotes and nurtures female artists based in the UK, enabling each winning artist to develop their potential by producing new works of art during a six-month residency in Italy. The judges for this fourth edition of the Prize included Iwona Blazwick [Chair]; artist Lisa Milroy; art collector Muriel Salem; gallerist Amanda Wilkinson, and writer and critic Gilda Williams.

Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery said, ‘The Whitechapel Gallery has a long tradition of premiering female artists. For the fourth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women we’re pleased to present a major new work by Laure Prouvost. Prouvost is an artist with an appetite for exploring different cultures and she seizes the artistic potential of her impressions to create gripping films and installations. It is fascinating to see how she has drawn from her Italian residency, bringing together the sensuous and surreal in her work.’

Luigi Maramotti, Chairman of Max Mara said, ‘For the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, our aim has always been to champion and support female artists, and provide them with the gifts of time and freedom in order to create a body of work. We are delighted that the sights and sounds of Italy have so inspired Laure Prouvost in her ambitious new installation. It will be a pleasure to present her work in the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia in the summer, following her exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.’


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