Art in the Elements 2015

30th January 2015
Jeanette Winterson & Alex Hartley at the Awards
Last night artist Alex Hartley took to the stage at Notting Hill’s 20th
Century Theatre to collect one of six £10,000 cheques from Guest of
Honour author Jeanette Winterson.
This years’ theme was Art in the Elements focussing on artists who
occupy the landscape, making objects, installations or even
interventions in the elements rather than recording or reflecting it in
their practice.
Artist and judge Chris Drury commented on his winning, “Alex Hartley’s
work is defiantly innovative and creative. It is ambitious, multi
dimensional and takes on a lot of current issues around landscape,
politics and the environment. As such it was the best choice amongst
some strong contenders.”
Although signed to an established gallery Alex has for some time been
producing large-scale complex artworks taking place in the public
realm where engagement and interaction with the audience is built
into the work.
His project such as Nowhereisland (2012) eventually involved over
23,000 people from 135 countries who became citizens of a newly
uncovered island discovered 10 years previously by Alex in the Arctic.
They wrote their own cumulative on-line constitution with the website
exploring issues such as land grab, climate change, nationhood and
land art. While being towed along the UK coastline, it was greeted by
local interest groups and its own travelling embassy which created the
catalyst to bring together choirs, marches, flotillas.. even a bake-off!
His work also has a direct relationship with site as seen in Vigil (2014)
where he built an encampment outside the 13th floor window of the
iconic Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkstone. Over 9 weeks Alex and a team
of volunteers watched over the town, harbour, cliffs and the sea
towards France recording everything that could be seen in an hourly
log. Although based in town, Vigil turned an urban environment into a
wild space, treating the city as mere surface and texture and tried to
generate an enquiry into belonging within the landscape.
The runners up were Amy Sharrocks, Paul Chaney and London
Fieldworks who all received £1,000. They were shortlisted from a longlist
of nominated British artists not for one particular project but for their
work to date and future potential.
The Award
This award is an ongoing award made possible by a legacy left by
sculptor and former dancer Yoma Sasburg. The five other 2015 awards
are for Spoken Word, Materials Innovation (supported by The
Clothworkers’ Foundation, Video & Digital for Performance (supported
by the Lionel Bart Foundation, Choral Conducting and Arts Producers.
The Arts Foundation £10,000 award is not a commission but to be used
to pay for living and working expenses, allowing the artist, who must
show a track record in the art form, breathing space in order to further
their practice. The Arts Foundation, was founded by an anonymous
donation in 1993 and has since given over £1.6m to support artists from
all walks of the arts. Previous fine art recipients include Lynette YiadomBoake, Hannah Starkey, Simon Fujiwara and David Harrison and
Matthew Tickle.
For more bios & information go to
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