Max Mara Art Prize for Women


20 May-19 July 2015
(Media View: 19 May 2015, 10am-11am)
Whitechapel Gallery, London (Gallery 2)
4 October 2015
- 28 February 2016
Private View 3 October 2015
Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia

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 such as Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio’s Teatro Olympico in Vicenza, whose grand trompe-l'œil stage set is the oldest in the world.

Talk and performance
20 November 2014, 7pm, Whitechapel Gallery (Creative Studio)
Tickets £8.50/£6.50 conc.

Marking the midway point of the Prize and the end of Corin Sworn’s residency in Italy, in November 2014 she invites celebrated poet Lisa Robertson to join her in a collaborative presentation of readings. The evening provides a rare insight into both the artist and writer’s works in progress, and to some extent their working methods, featuring fragments of personal research projects, notes and writings.

Glasgow-based Corin Sworn was awarded the biannual Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery in January 2014. Established in 2005 to promote and nurture women artists in the UK and celebrate the contribution they make to contemporary art, the Prize is collaboration between the Collezione Maramotti, Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery.

Sworn was chosen by a distinguished judging panel chaired by Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery and including Pilar Corrias, Director of Pilar Corrias Gallery, London; Candida Gertler, Founder and Director, Outset Contemporary Art Fund; Runa Islam, artist and Lisa Le Feuvre, Writer, Curator and Head of Sculpture Studies, Henry Moore Institute. Previous winners of the Prize are Turner Prize-winner Laure Prouvost, Andrea Büttner, Margaret Salmon and Hannah Rickards.

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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

Portrait of Corin Sworn
Ph. Alan Dimmick
Courtesy Whitechapel Gallery

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