The Walters Prize 2002 was awarded to Yvonne Todd for Asthma and Eczema. The winner was announced by international judge, Harald Szeemann at a gala dinner on Tuesday 16 July 2002.
- The Homely 1997–2000, by Gavin Hipkins: first shown in full at City Gallery, Wellington (7 July – 16 September 2001)
- Harry Human Heights 2001, by John Reynolds: first shown at Artspace, Auckland (June/July 2001)
- Asthma and Eczema 2001, by Yvonne Todd: first shown at Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland (10 October – 3 November 2001)
- Call Me Immendorff 2000, by Michael Stevenson: first shown at Galerie Kapinos, Berlin (December 2000 – January 2001)
The international judge for the Walters Prize 2002 was Swiss curator and art historian Harald Szeemann (1933–2005). Director of the Bern Kunsthalle from 1961-1969, Harald Szeemann was a major contributor to European and international curating. Of particular note in Szeemann's prolific and inventive career was curating Kassel's famous Documenta in 1972; the founding of an imaginary museum – the Museum of Obsessions – which is a conceptual project linking all his exhibitions and critical writing; the organisation of the Aperto young artists exhibitions at the 1980 Venice Biennale; being part of the curatorium for the Biennale of Sydney in 2000; and the Directorship of the Venice Biennale in 2001.
There was a fragility behind appearances, which we'll call feministic if you like… but however gave me the most emotive feelings. I think that my decision may shock, but in my eyes the Walters Prize 2002 goes to Yvonne Todd.
The 2002 jury comprised:
- Robert Leonard – curator and art critic
- Justin Paton – then Curator of Contemporary Art, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and editor of cultural journal, Landfall
- Anna Miles – then Head of Theory at Unitec School of Design
- William McAloon (1969–2012) – art critic and curator
We were asked to nominate four artists who had made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand art in 2000 and 2001, specifying a show or body of work for each. We looked to artists who had performed consistently well, whose work offered some increase, a breath of fresh air, a surprise.
Yvonne Todd photographs what she knows – family and friends, interiors and exteriors, pets and possessions. The Photoshopped images in Asthma & Eczema are seamless but suspicious: a dewy rose is too perfect; an exquisite female hand cadaverous; backlit Stepford brides loom like zombies. Betraying her North Shore upbringing, Todd's art brims with social aspiration, highlighting rifts in the social surface.
Gavin Hipkins calls The Homely, his 80-photograph frieze, a 'post-colonial gothic novel'. On antipodean photo-safaris, Hipkins tracked down items 'used to define nationhood and historic folklore'. While ship's rigging, a mock Māori gateway and a Union Jack prompt nationalist reverie, the tire swing, hooded jacket and takeaways menu seem spooky, out-of-place. The Homely is haunted by unfinished business; gritty fragments that resist integration into this empire of signs.
Mike Stevenson's Call Me Immendorff recreates a media circus. In 1987-8 German painter/party-animal Jöorg Immendorff came to town to sample our wine and women. His revels were halted by a death threat, a dead hare dumped on his doorstep. Stevenson's archival expose addresses provincial misrecognition: our desire to experience an overseas art star was matched by Immendorff's willingness to play the part. Stevenson's newsstand posters carry incredible quotes from the artist, drawings reproduce clippings, and the TV documentary Call Me Immendorff gets an undeserved rerun.
Painter John Reynolds has been putting a new spin on his signature concerns. InHarry Human Heights, Reynolds separates two dimensions of his inquiry, placing them in dramatic counterpoint. Two vast fields of oilstick hatchings generate sublime shimmering effects. Meanwhile, a parade of gnarled drawings – cataloguing road signs, nets, 19th century photograph titles, poem excerpts - rattles on to the side. The drawings' relationship to the abstracts is unclear: are they clues, commentary or complaint?
Founding benefactors and Principal donors:
Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs
Saatchi & Saatchi
Ernst & Young
The coordinating curator for the Walters Prize 2002 was Allan Smith.
Read the Walters Prize 2002 publication free online via ISSUU
- Curated by
- Allan Smith
- NEW Gallery, upper level
- Free entry