Max Mara Art Prize for Women

The winner of the third edition (2009-2011) of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery was announced at Londons’ Whitechapel Gallery on 23 March, 2010.
The panel of judges, chaired by Iwona Blazwick, included artist Fiona Banner, gallerist Alison Jacques, art collector Valeria Napoleone and art critic Polly Staple; they shortlisted the artists Becky Beasley, Andrea Büttner and Elizabeth Price, and after considering their proposals announced the winner of the prize to be Andrea Büttner. The artist then realized her project during a six-months residency in Italy in 2010, partly at the American Academy in Rome, partly at the Pistoletto Foundation in Biella, and also as the guest of a number of religious communities.

Andrea Büttner
Born in Stuttgart in 1972. Lives and works in London and Frankfurt.

After studies in history and philosophy at Humboldt University in Berlin, she was awarded a PhD at the London's Royal College of Art in 2009. She has already received a number of awards and other recognitions: Maria-Sibylla-Merian Prize and Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg Grant (2009), Cusanuswerk Scholarship (2005-2008), Working Grant, Tyler Graphics (2006).
She works in a variety of media (inclusive of woodcuts and pressed flowers) and is especially interested in themes in which art and religion intertwine and overlap.
For two years, Büttner frequented a group of Carmelite nuns in a convent in West London, making pencil sketches of the nuns at prayer. She gave one of the sisters a video camera and asked her to record the making of their small hand-crafted offerings, from crocheted baskets to icons. The resulting video Little Works (2007) presents a wistful image of a creative process that has remained untouched by the secular age.
Büttner’s work also investigates the potential dilemmas the artist faces within the space of the gallery and its powerful charge of expectations. In her 16mm film titled I feel shame / we feel shame / I feel shame (2008) – a work that takes the form of three simultaneous projections – the artist draws attention to the symbolic weight of the art gallery and the pressures it exerts on the artist.

The Poverty of Riches is a project that explores the intersection of religion, art and the condition of the artist in the contemporary world. Andrea Büttner engages with Catholicism by way of a complex, multi-layered reflection on art. The artworks produced in the course of the project were inspired by the Italian religious communities in which she lived for a while, by Giotto’s frescoes, and by a number of works in the Collezione Maramotti.
Her show transforms the exhibition space into a space of contemplation in which we look at works that represent elements of religious iconography, rendered in the traditional technique of woodcuts. Flanking such traditional imagery, we also find pieces of everyday cloth which the artist has retrieved from the uniforms of park guards, policemen and refuse collectors, and then stretched as though they were canvases, thus creating colourful “paintings.” These works are part of Büttner’s exploration of the symbolic uses of fabrics in Italian religious art.


Whitechapel Gallery, London
1-10 April 2011
Collezione Maramotti
Private view on 12 November 2011, at 6:00 p.m. The artist as well as Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery, and curator Bina von Stauffenberg were present. A discussion followed between Andrea Büttner and Lars Bang Larsen, art historian and curator. On public exhibition from 13 November 2011 to 29 April 2012.


Andrea Büttner

Vogelpredigt, 2010

Her latest shows
The Poverty of Riches, Whitechapel Gallery, London
Artpace, San Antonio
29th São Paulo Bienal
Love Boat, Kunsthaus Essen, Essen
The young people visiting our ruins see nothing but a style, GAM, Turin
Cabinets #3, SE8, London
Nought to Sixty, ICA, London
Andrea Büttner, Hollybush Gardens, London
On the spot #1 – Andrea Büttner, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe
Pensée Sauvage, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt
Anxiety of Influence, The New Wight Biennial, UCLA, Los Angeles
Bloomberg New Contemporaries, The Coach Shed, Liverpool
Biennial, Liverpool