Max Mara Art Prize for Women


A major new art commission by Corin Sworn, the latest winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, is unveiled in May 2015 at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and October 2015 at Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia. The work follows the artist’s 6-month Italian residency in Rome, Naples and Venice and marks the culmination of the fifth edition of the Prize.

The new work focusses on the rich history of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, the improvised theatrical comedies from the 16th century onwards performed by touring troupes of actors. Combining architecture, sculpture and textiles, the installation will set the stage for a live performance.

Sworn was particularly interested in the evolution of la commedia through history, and the instances of mistaken identity which often appear in its storylines. The role of clothing in 16th and 17th century Italian society, and the ability of the newly professionalised role of the actor to destabilise relationships and hierarchies is also explored.

During the residency the artist studied rare manuscripts of traditional plays, visited theatre productions and buildings and museums.

A short film produced by Collezione Maramotti and Max Mara documenting the Corin Sworn’s time in Italy gives an insight into her residency experience, including interviews with Commedia dell’Arte experts, including teacher and artist Antonio Fava, with critic and curator Pier Paolo Pancotto, actor Gianni de Luigi, poet Lisa Robertson and the artist herself.

Watch the film trailer:


20 May-19 July 2015
Media View: 19 May 2015, 10am-11am
Whitechapel Gallery, London (Gallery 2)

3 October 2015-28 February 2016
Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia

Download the press release in PDF

Corin Sworn

Born in 1976
Lives and works in Glasgow

- BA in Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
- BFA Institute of Art & Design, Vancouver
- MFA The Glasgow School of Art

Corin Sworn
Ph. Matteo De Fina

Recent Solo Shows
Inverleith House, Edinburgh
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

The Foxes, London Film Festival - An Eternal Return, London
The Rag Papers, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen
Artists’ Film International: Corin Sworn, Whitechapel Gallery, London
Corin Sworn, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
Unsettling Provenance, Timespan Museum and Arts Centre, Helmsdale (Scotland)
Art Now: Corin Sworn, Tate Britain, London
Corin Sworn, Blanket, Vancouver
The Lens Prism, Tramway, Glasgow
Prologue: An Endless Renovation, Washington Garcia, Glasgow