The Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award was unveiled yesterday in a private view of the exhibition by the four finalists who each win £1000. In a ceremony at the Whitechapel Gallery, winner Samara Scott was announced by Dazed's very own visual arts editor Francesca Gavin. The £6,000 prize was awarded by the high profile judging panel that included critic Nancy Durrant, artist Jeremy Deller, Whitechapel curator Kirsty Ogg, and James Early and Yuri Pattison from Peckham's LuckyPDF.
The exhibition celebrating the four emerging artists takes place on Osborne Street at the bottom of London's Brick Lane and the first thing to be noticed from the street outside are Samara Scott's blinds. Placed in each of the vitrines, the horizontal slats of the domestic light-blocking devices hold a delicately composed accumulation of seeming detritus, the kind one might find under a bed. Her washed-up things work from a point of image-overload and digital clutter, but find manifestation in the material through the body of the artist. Her work is a literal collage of the visual information she ingests on a daily basis.
Another subtle touch which took a moment to clock was the beige carpeted walls. Scott has painstakingly attached carpet to the walls of the entire front room which creates a sound-deadened frame for the sickly pastel coloured mobile-eque sculptures which are placed in the centre, adjacent to a pool in the floor of what looks like frogspawn.
In the next room Pio Abad's politically astute Hermes'-esque silk scarves adorn the walls. The objects depicted were taken from mass graves in Yugoslavia and the accompanying texts were from diary entries by Milosevic's wife. The works, collectively titled 'Mira', reference material excess and 'harrowing narratives of loss and brutality [which] become mere footnotes to legendary shopping sprees'. The scarf stands in for this aspirational material living and the conflation of dictatorship, political lives and figures and the display of wealth through fashion and excess.
Leslie Kulesh's installation opposite provides a soundtrack and almost retro-active invocation of virtuality, feminism and cyborgs appropriated from Donna Haraway's manifesto. Her lilting prosaic style is on headphones for the duration of the exhibition. But last night was performed live to a small audience lying on a camo-print rug with pillows facing skyward looking at a collection of images projected on the ceiling and combining word and image on an associative journey through time, space and theory.
The far room holds Myles Painter's complex and engaging film 'End-Time' which combines an interest in history, architecture, time and the apocalypse. Featuring interviews with Will Self and others, films from Fritz Lang's Metropolis through to Lars von Trier's Melancholia and John Martin's doomy fire-and-brimstone painting works combine to investigate the end of days trope.
That's it wrapped up for another year – the exhibition runs until November 11th and provides an excellent opportunity to view new specially produced work from the one-to-watch artists.