The shortlist for the annual Jarman Award, now in its ninth year, has been announced. The six outstanding artists nominated for the prestigious £10,000 art prize are Sophia Al Maria, Cécile B. Evans, Shona Illingworth, Mikhail Karikis, Rachel Maclean and Heather Phillipson. The Film London Jarman Award recognises and supports artists working with moving image and celebrates the spirit of experimentation, imagination and innovation in the work of UK-based artist filmmakers. The Award is inspired by visionary filmmaker Derek Jarman.
The Jury who selected this year’s shortlist are: Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery; Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film), Tate Modern and Film London Board Member; Pegah Farahmand, Editor, Random Acts, Channel 4; Adam Chodzko, Artist; Emma Morris, Executive Director, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; and Filmmaker, Joanna Hogg.
The shortlisted artists’ accomplishments for 2016 span single-screen works and immersive gallery installations, animation and intricate CGI techniques to ‘found footage’ sourced from YouTube. Their subjects range from memory and sound, future worlds and forgotten landscapes, the glitz of Gulf culture, pulsing beats of pop with dazzling montages of consumerism and the effect of new technology on human behaviour. Together, the artists selected for this year’s Jarman Award shortlist provide an important insight into the country’s very best moving image artists working now.
The Jarman Award Tour of the 2016 shortlist will travel to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, showcasing work by the six artists from 2 October till 20 November in 11 venues around the UK. It offers audiences the chance to see a programme of new and recent single screen works and hear from the artists themselves. Events will take place in major arts venues from Manchester and Margate to Newcastle, Belfast and Cardiff, culminating in a special weekend of screenings, Q&As and performances at Whitechapel Gallery on 19 – 20 November.
Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “As well as serving to shock, startle and entertain, great art has the power to cut to the very heart of contemporary culture, bringing serious issues to the fore or highlighting modern-day foibles. This year’s Jarman Award shortlist is the perfect case in point: the filmmakers’ work represents a riotous explosion of colour, sound, skill and distinctive imagery, but beyond the visuals are also some very serious, thought-provoking messages. A huge debt of thanks is due to Arts Council England, whose continued investment in and support for FLAMIN and this important, innovative sector in general is absolutely vital.”
The winner of the Film London Jarman Award will be announced on 28 November 2016 at a special event at the Whitechapel Gallery. The winner will receive prize money of £10,000. Channel 4 will also support the award by commissioning all the shortlisted artists to produce new films for their acclaimed Random Acts arts strand. This year will also see the return of the Jules Wright Prize for Female Creative Technician, named after the late founder of The Wapping Project, a successful theatre director, curator and long-time champion of women in the arts. This year’s Jules Wright Prize will be awarded to a woman working in the field of editing.
About the 2016 shortlisted artists
Sophia Al Maria’s work is an evocation of contemporary Arab culture and the glitz and hypocrisy of an oil rich Gulf with its shopping malls, marble interiors and sci-fi monoliths. Through a mixture of YouTube rips and home movie style footage Al Maria explores a hypermodern, globalised culture that brings with it a sense of ethical and environmental anxiety.
Cécile B. Evans’ interest in human emotions and generative digital processes are expressed in her uncanny animations. Highly stylised avatars and internet oddities speak with each other and to the viewer with simulated voices, including the ghost of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Agnes, a presence who lives on the Serpentine Gallery website.
Shona Illingworth’s elegiac films and installations often stem from her longstanding interest in emerging models of memory and from growing up in a dramatic and contested landscape. They combine imagery of striking landscapes with the experiences of people who went through life-changing events, which altered their relationship with the world around them.
Mikhail Karikis creates immersive installations born of a long-standing investigation of the voice as a sculptural material and a socio-political agent. Karikis’ projects are the result of an engagement with marginal landscapes and communities, from aging pearl divers in Korea to the marshland of the Isle of Grain in South East England via an uninhabited workers’ village in Italy and miners’ choirs of the Welsh valleys. His work is on show at the Whitstable Biennale this summer.
Through a car crash of images, colours, noise and language Heather Phillipson’s videos speak of the contemporary experience of consumption, production and overflow. Phillipson creates vast playful sculptures to house her video work, featuring plastic dogs on trampolines, wheelbarrows, and giant feet.
Rachel Maclean creates bizarre and nightmarish Alice in Wonderland worlds filmed in candy colours, where all the characters are played by the artist. Using clips of found sound – anything from TV talent contests to skin cream adverts and soap operas – Maclean’s film collages are grotesque and violent satires, both seductive and repulsive. Maclean will represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2017.
The Award has built an enviable reputation for spotting rising stars of the UK art world. Previously shortlisted artists include Laure Prouvost, Elizabeth Price, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Duncan Campbell, James Richards and Luke Fowler, all of whom went on to be shortlisted for or to win the Turner Prize. Past winners Luke Fowler (2008), Lindsay Seers (2009), Emily Wardill (2010), Anya Kirschner & David Panos (2011), James Richards (2012), John Smith (2013), Ursula Mayer (2014), Seamus Harahan (2015).