Winners Of The 2015 NEON Curatorial Award Announced By Whitechapel Gallery

Whitechapel Gallery announces Joseph Constable and Rebecca Edwards as the winners of the 2015 NEON Curatorial Award. This is the first year in which two winning curators have been selected.

The award was established in 2012 to champion curatorial excellence, and is part of an ongoing partnership between the Whitechapel Gallery and NEON, a nonprofit organisation in Athens. Building links between emerging curators in London and across Greece, the prize celebrates the exchange of ideas and innovations in the presentation of contemporary art.

Curators were invited by the Gallery to devise an exhibition proposal drawing from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, which includes over 500 artworks by 170 international and Greek artists. The Award received the highest number of proposals to date, submitted by aspiring curators from Greece, as well as students and alumni from the following Masters programmes: Curating the Contemporary, London Metropolitan University and Whitechapel Gallery; Curating the Art Museum, Courtauld Institute of Art; Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Curating, Goldsmiths College.

The two best submissions received the award at a ceremony at the Whitechapel Gallery yesterday evening, Thursday 10 December.

The judging panel for the 2015 NEON Curatorial Award consisted of three curators: Nicolas de Oliveira, London Metropolitan University, Ingrid Swenson, PEER, London and Grant Watson, Royal College of Arts, and was moderated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, Whitechapel Gallery.

Joseph Constable was selected for his proposal The Labours – a title taken from a photograph from British artist Helen Chadwick, which depicts the artist’s naked body lifting a life-sized columnar representation of herself. In response to the contemporary context of Athens and its drive for creative self-organisation, this group show, including works by Joseph Beuys, José Damasceno and Pierre Huyghe amongst others, will explore how artists and artworks can create the conditions of rupture necessary for new modes of subjectivity. Constable proposed the empty spaces of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens as the setting for The Labours – a symbolically appropriate venue currently in a state of flux ‘where internal labour becomes an abstracted, performed bureaucracy.’

Of Joseph Constable’s winning proposal the judging panel commented: ‘Joseph’s proposal presents a poignant commentary on the Greek crisis but is also concerned with the broader issue of art’s relation to capital more broadly. He has considered an evocative venue, the closed or rather unopened, Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens and he refers to theorists’ ideas that are very relevant to Greece at the moment, promising a very ambitious public programme to further unfold the concepts of the exhibition.’

Joseph Constable is a graduate of the Curating Contemporary Art MA programme at the RCA and currently works as Programme Curator at l’étrangère Gallery, London and Projects Assistant to producer and curator Jacqui Davies.

Rebecca Edwards was chosen for her proposal The Ear And the Eye – a two part exhibition to be shown simultaneously in London and Athens. The UK exhibition (presented at ANDOR in East London) will be comprised of a multichannel sound installation physically representing composer Alex Tyrrell’s album Memories We Made in The Computer Age, whilst Stop Counting, an installation by Karla Black will be displayed at State of Concept gallery in Athens. A dialogue will be created between both installations through the use of live recordings and projections in real time of the corresponding artworks in the two cities. The physical and the non-physical will ‘be in a state of synchronicity’ through technology. The exhibition will ‘confront the idea of spaces’ and what this means for art and the contemporary.

Of Rebecca Edwards’ proposal the judging panel commented: ‘Rebecca’s proposal successfully considers the relationship between artwork, location and experience. She proposes a material translation; the melding of sight and sound, through a simple, yet transformative process. Rather than opting for the traditional exhibition format her proposal results in a curatorial presentation of a new relationship or constellation which makes it stand out from many others.’

Rebecca Edwards is an independent curator and writer based in London. An Alumnus of The Cass, London Metropolitan University, Edwards recent curated exhibitions include: MWMITCA, Lewisham ArtHouse, (2015), A Statue Is Present: Stories of Melancholy and Raving Madness, Royal College of Psychiatrists, London (2015) and A Sense of Things: co-curated group show, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2014).

Elina Kountouri, Director of NEON said: ‘We look forward to continuing this important cultural dialogue between Greece and the UK through our renewed partnership with the Whitechapel on the Curatorial Exchange and Award.’

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