Max Mara Art Prize winner Emma Talbot questions female representation in history

This is the eighth edition of the prestigious prize for UK-based female artists.

11 March 2020


London-based artist Emma Talbot has won the 2020 edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Eligible to those who have not yet had a major exhibition, Talbot’s winning proposal for this year’s prize calls into question the negative representation of women throughout history.

The proposal focuses on Gustav Klimt’s painting Three Ages of Woman (1905), turning it on its head in an act of empowerment. The artist plans to transform the shamed and naked elderly women from the piece, morphing her into someone with power and control over her life. She plans to incorporate this character into a series of trials, in a similar vein to The Twelve Labors of Hercules.

Talbot’s practice centres around drawing, painting, installation and sculpture, exploring the vast landscape of inner thoughts and emotions. She often achieves this through accompanying words and narratives, many of which are her own.

The prize will see her complete a six-month residency, which is organised by the Collezione Maramotti and will see her spend time in multiple locations across Italy, as well as visiting the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, where Klimt’s work is housed.

“This prize comes at a crucial point that seems incredibly timely for me, as I have only recently began to focus fully on my own work, having for many years taken on teaching roles to support my family, as a single parent,” says Talbot. “The Max Mara Art Prize for Women will help me make the most of this major step. Just at the perfect time, this supportive and amazing opportunity to concentrate totally on my work, and undertake extended first-hand research, will be life-changing.”

Talbot's final work will be shown in 2021 at the Whitechapel Gallery before moving on to the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

GalleryEmma Talbot


When Screens Break


Your Own Authority, Art Night commission


Do You See Yourself Projected? Art Night commission. Photo: Thierry Bal


Your Birth - the epic historical moment you can’t remember, from Sounders of the Depths. GEM Museum Voor Actuele Kunst, The Hague. Photo: Peter Cox


How is your own death so inconceivable? from Sounders of the Depths. GEM Museum Voor Actuele Kunst, The Hague. Photo: Peter Cox


How is your own death so inconceivable?

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Portrait in the artist’s studio, Pictured with When Screens Break, 2020. Photo: Thierry Bal

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About the Author

Charlie Filmer-Court

Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.

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