Ruth Buchanan has been announced as the winner of the Walters Prize 2018, New Zealand’s most prestigious contemporary art award.
The announcement was made by Adriano Pedrosa, the Walters Prize 2018 international judge, at a dinner at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki last Friday. Buchanan is awarded $50,000 for the honour.
Buchanan was selected for her presentation of BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, 2016/2018, a mixed media installation.
Pedrosa, Artistic Director of Brazil’s São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) says: ‘The many layers of Ruth Buchanan’s installation BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, 2016/2018, provide a distinct polyphonic quality to the exhibition, at times poetically verging on the cacophonic.’
‘From sculpture to architecture, painting to design, performance to audio, manifesto to poetry, Buchanan brings together politics, feminism and the body, arranged in a processual, open and speculative way. It takes into account competing, overlapping and contradictory modes of representation, both visual and verbal, aural and spatial.’
‘BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS is a tour de force of language itself, not so much framed as an efficient means of communication, but as a fantasy of “bad visual systems.”’
Pedrosa made his selection from four exhibited works by artists Ruth Buchanan (b.1980), Jacqueline Fraser (b.1956), Jess Johnson (b.1979) and Simon Ward (b.1977), and Pati Solomona Tyrell (b.1992).
Pedrosa says of the Walters Prize 2018 exhibition: ‘It is an exceptional opportunity to view four outstanding works with a focus and intensity not often available. All of the artists have presented complex works, of the highest standard.’
Buchanan joins a celebrated list of former Walters Prize winners: contemporary New Zealand artists Shannon Te Ao (2016), Luke Willis Thompson (2014), Kate Newby (2012), Dan Arps (2010), Peter Robinson (2008), Francis Upritchard (2006), et al. (2004) and Yvonne Todd (2002).
The Walters Prize recognises outstanding works of contemporary New Zealand art produced and exhibited during the past two years.
Held biennially, the Walters Prize aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life. Named in honour of the late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, the Prize was established in 2002 by Founding Benefactors and Principal Donors Erika and Robin Congreve and Dame Jenny Gibbs, working together with Auckland Art Gallery.