<p><strong>Ruth Buchanan</strong><br />
<em>BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS</em>&nbsp;(installation view) 2016/2018<br />
mixed media, dimensions and durations variable</p>

Ruth Buchanan
BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS (installation view) 2016/2018
mixed media, dimensions and durations variable

2 November 2018

Ruth Buchanan has been announced tonight as the winner of the Walters Prize 2018, New Zealand’s most prestigious contemporary art award.

The announcement was made by Adriano Pedrosa, the Walters Prize 2018 international judge, at a dinner at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Buchanan is awarded $50,000 for the honour.

Buchanan was selected for her presentation of BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, 2016/2018, a mixed media installation.

Pedrosa, Artistic Director of Brazil’s São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) says: ‘The many layers of Ruth Buchanan’s installation BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, 2016/2018, provide a distinct polyphonic quality to the exhibition, at times poetically verging on the cacophonic.’

‘From sculpture to architecture, painting to design, performance to audio, manifesto to poetry, Buchanan brings together politics, feminism and the body, arranged in a processual, open and speculative way. It takes into account competing, overlapping and contradictory modes of representation, both visual and verbal, aural and spatial.’

‘BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS is a tour de force of language itself, not so much framed as an efficient means of communication, but as a fantasy of “bad visual systems.”’

Pedrosa made his selection from four exhibited works by artists Ruth Buchanan (b.1980), Jacqueline Fraser (b.1956), Jess Johnson (b.1979) and Simon Ward (b.1977), and Pati Solomona Tyrell (b.1992).

Pedrosa says of the Walters Prize 2018 exhibition: ‘It is an exceptional opportunity to view four outstanding works with a focus and intensity not often available. All of the artists have presented complex works, of the highest standard.’

Buchanan joins a celebrated list of former Walters Prize winners: contemporary New Zealand artists Shannon Te Ao (2016), Luke Willis Thompson (2014), Kate Newby (2012), Dan Arps (2010), Peter Robinson (2008), Francis Upritchard (2006), et al. (2004) and Yvonne Todd (2002).

The Walters Prize recognises outstanding works of contemporary New Zealand art produced and exhibited during the past two years.

Held biennially, the Walters Prize aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life. Named in honour of the late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, the Prize was established in 2002 by Founding Benefactors and Principal Donors Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs, working together with Auckland Art Gallery.

The winner of the Walters Prize 2018

Ruth Buchanan, BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, 2016/2018, mixed media installation.

Buchanan was born 1980, New Plymouth (Te Ātiawa/Taranaki). She lives and works in Berlin.


For more information, high-res images and interview requests contact:

Samantha McKegg, Communications Officer, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
+64 21 548 480


Walters Prize information

The Walters Prize is New Zealand’s most prestigious contemporary art prize and 2018 marks the ninth iteration of the biennial award at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. The Walters Prize awards the most outstanding contribution made to contemporary art in New Zealand by an artist in the two-year period preceding the prize. The Walters Prize was initiated to create a greater understanding of contemporary art in New Zealand and to make contemporary art a more widely recognised, debated and prominent feature of the country’s cultural life.



The Walters Prize was established in 2002 by Founding Benefactors and Principal Donors Erika & Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs working together with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and (from 2004) Major Donor Dayle, Lady Mace, who provides a finalist award to each nominated artist. Founding Sponsors were EY, who dedicated their support until 2010 and Saatchi & Saatchi, whose relationship with the Prize continued until the end of the 2014 prize. In 2014 the Auckland Contemporary Arts Trust provided support as a Principal Donor and Elevation Capital joined as a Major Sponsor, followed by Chris and Charlotte Swasbrook as Major Donors in 2016.


Previous winners

2016: Shannon Te Ao for Two shoots that stretch far out, 2013–14 and Okea ururoatia (never say die), 2016.
2014: Luke Willis Thompson for inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam, 2012
2012: Kate Newby for Crawl out your window, 2010
2010: Dan Arps for Explaining Things, 2008
2008: Peter Robinson for Ack, 2006
2006: Francis Upritchard for Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed, 2005
2004: et al. for restricted access, 2003
2002: Yvonne Todd for Asthma & Eczema, 2001


Adriano Pedrosa bio

Adriano Pedrosa is artistic director of MASP–Museu de Arte de São Paulo. He was adjunct curator of the 24th Bienal de São Paulo (1998), curator in charge of exhibitions and collection at Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (2000–03), co-curator of the 27th Bienal de São Paulo (2006), curator of InSite_05 (San Diego Museum of Art, Centro Cultural Tijuana, 2005), artistic director of the 2nd Trienal de San Juan (2009), curator of 31st Panorama da Arte Brasileira–Mamõyaguara opá mamõ pupé (Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, 2009), co-curator of the 12th Istanbul Biennial, and curator of the São Paulo pavilion at the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012). Other exhibitions includeF[r]icciones (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1999); Desenhos: A-Z (Museu da Cidade, LIsboa, 2008); The Traveling Show and El Gabinete Blanco (Colección Fundación Jumex, Mexico, D.F., 2010); Conversations in Amman (Darat Al Funun, The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, 2013); artevida (Casa França Brasil, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Escola de Artes Visuais e Cavalariças do Parque Lage, Biblioteca Parque Estadual, Rio de Janeiro, 2014); Histórias Mestiças (Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, 2014).

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