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The Walters Prize Winner for 2012

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Kate Newby Kate Newby, Crawl Out your Window, detail Kate Newby, Crawl Out your Window, detail Kate Newby, Crawl Out your Window, detail Kate Newby, Crawl Out your Window, detail Mami Kataoka

Newby's four 'empty' rooms are the closest exhibitions at AAG in the last forty years to Billy Apple's 'subtraction' installations of 1975, and so may well be seen by some as 'controversial'. Even the Judge says it is “the least eloquent!” Yet she picked a 'non-eloquent' work.

Auckland

 

Mami Kataoka

The Walters Prize dinner speech

 

20 October, 8.00pm

Out of the four finalists, the one mostly to win, from objectively considering Mami Kataoka’s intellectual leanings, surely would be Kate Newby - and this was confirmed by Kataoka’s announcement of the winner this evening.

Look for example at Kataoka‘s over-riding passion for elucidating aspects of traditional Asian thought - especially Zen Buddhism.

Her talk on Friday night was Impermanence and Negative Space , and the most salient quality of Newby’s installation is the emptiness of her version of a Zen rock garden. It uses concrete, bare floor, painted floor, and carpet instead of geometrically raked gravel - mixed with a grunge sensibility and intense, very bodily impacting, colour. Along with surrealist - influenced rocks (bearing messages) on an adjacent rooftop.

Newby’s four ‘empty‘ rooms are the closest exhibitions at AAG in the last forty years to Billy Apple‘s ‘subtraction’ installations of 1975, and so may well be seen by some as ‘controversial’. (Not to well informed EyeContact readers of course!) Even the Judge says it is “the least eloquent!” Yet she picked a ‘non-eloquent’ work. (One assumes because it fitted her agenda .)

Here are the Judge’s comments. They focus on other aspects:

I would like to award the 2012 Walters Prize to Kate Newby. It has been very difficult to create an order among the four artists’ practices, which are all outstanding in different ways. While Newby’s work is probably the least eloquent by making minimal interventions into the given space, it embraces memories of locations, her personal gestures and subtle actions, which viewers can relate to through small objects embedded into the concrete ramp and the materiality of the suspended fabric.

More importantly, the use of natural light and the way the work gradually crawls out of the museum space is the most reserved but radical way of transcending the fixed architectural space for contemporary art, liberating us towards wider universal space. The colour yellow emphasizes the cognition for the light and the space and the whole installation offers the physical experience and awareness of both void and silence. This decision is derived from my attempt to evoke a state of equilibrium in our ever competitive and hierarchical society and its abiding belief in power.’

Congratulations to Kate and the other finalists, and the Judge and Jurors, and the Barrs, and AAG staff, for making this the liveliest, most argued about Walters Prize ever.

John Hurrell

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This Discussion has 1 comment.

Comment

Jeffrey Beaumont, 12:22 a.m. 25 October, 2012

I love her work in the Shortland Street carpark. Did anyone else notice she's updated it? I always thought it was kind of charming that over time some had gone missing. On our way home this evening we saw the missing tiles have been replaced with new ones. One of the 'newby's' I really like! Congratulations to Kate, she was my pick too!

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