Oliver Laric Launches Contemporary Art Society Annual Award Commission Online

Oliver Laric the 2012 winning artist of the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award is to create a new work for The Collection and Usher Gallery in Lincoln. Established in 2009, the award enables a regional museum to commission a major new artwork for their permanent collection, and offers a unique opportunity to an artist to work on a high-profile project. Previous artist winners of the award also include Kateřina Šedá, Luke Fowler, Christina Mackie and the 2013 recipient, Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price.

Laric’s commission uses the latest digital scanning methods to render some of Lincoln’s most treasured and historic sculptures in highly-detailed 3D. More than 50 objects from The Collection and Usher Gallery have been scanned and put online at www.lincoln3dscans.co.uk. The 360° images, which can be downloaded for free and used by anyone including artists, schools and researchers, reveal decoration and markings in the stonework normally hidden from view. The first scans include a 2nd century bust of Greek mythological figure Ariadne, Roman tombstones, medieval baptismal fonts, part of the pelvis bone from Anglo-Saxon remains, and an ancient mosaic.

The project opens up Lincoln’s important collection to an international audience for the first time. The artist plans to use a variety of the 3D images to create a unique collage sculpture for permanent display at The Collection, and he will add further scans to the site over time.

Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said: “The Contemporary Art Society Annual Award is one of the organisation’s most vital initiatives, enabling a regional museum to acquire a significant new work of contemporary art. We are thrilled that Oliver Laric, through winning the award, has been able to respond so adventurously to the holdings at The Collection and Usher Gallery, producing a commission that brings the museum’s most historic works so vividly into the 21st century.”

Ashley Gallant, Collections Access Officer at The Collection and Usher Gallery, said: “Oliver’s project improves access to our collections and acts as a resource for creative people and researchers all over the world.  It offers anyone the ability to view some of our most important objects in 3D, as well as enabling them to download these files and use them as the basis for new artwork and ideas.”

Mark Wallinger, Turner Prize winner and presenter of the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2013, said: “This award deserves to be recognised as one of the most important contemporary art prizes in the country. It is a crucial mechanism through which regional museums can acquire significant new works and maintain the vibrancy of their collections. In line with the Contemporary Art Society’s mission for over 100 years, the award also supports artists who are at a stage in their careers where their work should be entering public collections nationally but very often is not….. It’s clear that more and more national institutions are recognising this prize as an incredibly valuable tool to benefit their collections on a long-term basis.

Contemporary Art Society Annual Award supports a UK-based museum or public gallery to work with an artist of their choice to commission a new work that, once completed, will remain within the museum’s permanent collection. The prize has a major impact on both the winning museum and their chosen artist: for the winning museum, the award allows the acquisition of an ambitious work of contemporary art of national importance, and for the winning artist (who may be showing widely nationally and internationally but whose work is not represented in collections in this country), the award is a stepping stone to greater visibility and provides access to national and international audiences.

Previous recipients of the award are Kateřina Šedá with The Graves Art Gallery, Museums Sheffield in 2009; Luke Fowler with Hepworth Wakefield and Wolverhampton Art Gallery in 2010; Christina Mackie with Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery in 2011; Oliver Laric with The Collection & Usher Gallery in 2012; and Elizabeth Price with the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art.

Vienna-born Oliver Laric (b. 1981) is an artist living and working in Berlin and is represented by Seventeen gallery in London. He has already received praise for his ongoing project, Versions, which explores historical and contemporary notions of image hierarchies. Versions 2012, his latest version of the project, was shown at Art Basel in June 2012. He has shown in solo projects as part of Frieze Frame London, Art Basel 2012 and at the Skulpturhalle Basel and has participated in recent group shows including the Centre for Contemporary Art Cincinnati, and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, MASS MoCA, Massachusetts. Laric’s practice is largely characterised by the manipulation and restructuring of existing broadcast media, using youtube, webchat programmes and graphics programmes as both the raw materials and the methods of display for his work. His work encourages mass participation and rejects time restrictions.

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