The Walters Prize 2010 was awarded to Dan Arps for Explaining Things. The winner was announced by the international judge, Vicente Todolí, at a gala dinner on 8 October 2010.
- Explaining Things 2008, by Dan Arps: first shown at Gambia Castle, Auckland (7–24 December 2008)
- Something Transparent (please go round the back) 2009, by Fiona Connor: first shown at Michael Lett, Auckland (15 April – 16 May 2009)
- Yellow is the Putty of the World 2009, by Saskia Leek: first shown at Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland (25 November – 23 December 2009)
- Passing Manoeuvre with Two Motorcycles and 584 Vehicles for Two-Channel Video 2008, by Alex Monteith: first shown at ST PAUL St, Auckland (19 June – 7 July 2008)
The international judge for the Walters Prize 2010 was highly-respected former director of London's Tate Modern, Vicente Todolí. Vicente was director of London's Tate Modern from 2003–2010. He was a prime mover in the Tate's global success – now the most visited modern art museum in the world. From 1989-96 Todolí was artistic director for The Valencia Institute for Modern Art (IVAM), Spain, and before it opened he was their Chief curator.
I have awarded this prize to Dan Arps because he has created a total work of art in the Wagnerian sense of 'Gesamkunstwerk'. His work is a development of a concept first created by James Joyce in Ulysses, which is the epiphany of everyday life. This idea was highly influential on Duchamp, when he developed the concept of the 'Readymade', and was transmitted into the present through movements like Fluxus and Pop. In this case, it would be the epiphany of the humble and the rejected. The artist has transformed these found materials through his own editing and his process of amelioration and has taken them into another, higher realm. Through this process, Dan Arps has turned his installation into an alchemical chamber. He incorporates such a diversity of art disciplines in the treatment of such dissimilar elements, which results in the creation of a conglomerate where the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. Each of them radiates into the empty spaces between them, turning Explaining Things into a revelatory multi-layered experience.
The 2010 jury comprised:
- Jon Bywater – then Programme Leader for Critical Studies at Elam School of Fine Art, The University of Auckland
- Rhana Devenport – then Director of Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
- Leonhard Emmerling – Visual Arts Adviser, Goethe Institute, Munich, Germany, former Director, ST PAUL St, AUT University
- Kate Montgomery – then Director, Physics Room, Christchurch
The four works or bodies of work we have selected for the Walters Prize 2010 are considered the most outstanding contributions to contemporary New Zealand art shown since the last Prize was shortlisted. They offer notably different kinds of pleasures and puzzles, and have been created through contrasting artistic approaches, highlighting a key challenge of what has been our task – to remain alert to what impacts in a valuable way on the practice and reception of New Zealand art, whether it be immediate or subtle, cerebral or visceral, or any combination of these things. Mediated by debate, our collective sense of what constitutes artistic excellence agreed on the diverse successes of an installation staged as an abandoned private space, a situation-responsive feat of trompe-l'oeil sculpture, a show of quietly rigorous and disarmingly beautiful paintings, and a straightforwardly constructed yet precariously captured video view of two motorcycles moving through traffic.
Dan Arps' Explaining Things jams together the expressive and the deadpan. Mass cultural detritus – YouTube clips, furniture, ornaments and posters - are reworked into what sometimes appear to be illegibly personal artifacts. The title hints that all manner of things sampled in this precise jumble of images and objects might relate to our desires for things to have an explanation, including art.
Echoing and initially installed within the widow space of Michael Lett's dealer gallery on Karangahape Road, Fiona Connor's Something Transparent (please go round the back) makes the most of the unsettling potential of the double-take. Physically displacing her audience from the interior with multiple reproductions of the façade, she continues an investigation into the multivalent site of the art gallery.
Saskia Leek's exhibition Yellow is the Putty of the World aligns such over-determined starting points for the act of painting as a bowl of fruit with the now equally familiar idea of abstraction. Demonstrating the fascination that remains in them, these are paintings about painting, but also just as much paintings about the world, that painting, after all, is a part of.
Alex Monteith's piece shows us two motorbikes threading their way between lanes of slow-moving traffic from two perspectives at once, as one camera looks forward and another looks back, from one bike to another. Recent technology abstracts a formal composition from the relative motion of the vehicles that subtly confounds our usual grasp of space and time.
Founding benefactors and Principal donors:
Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs
Founding Principal sponsor:
Ernst & Young
Saatchi & Saatchi
The coordinating curator for the Walters Prize 2010 was Ron Brownson.
Read the Walters Prize 2010 publication free online via ISSUU
- Curated by
- Ron Brownson
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The Walters Prize 2010