Visual artist Helen Cammock has been announced as the seventh winner of the prestigious Max Mara Art Prize for Women. The artist, who works across moving image, photography, writing, poetry, spoken word, song, performance, print making and installation will spend six months in Italy during 2018 on a residency. This residency is tailored to Helen’s wide ranging interests and will lead to a new body of work to be shown in a major solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2019, to then be toured to Collezione Maramotti in Reggi Emilia, Italy.
Helen’s main interests lie in histories, storytelling and the excavation, re-interpretation and re-presentation of lost, unheard and buried voices. She is known for expertly and fascinatingly weaving her own writing, literature, poetry and philosophical and other found texts, most often mapping them onto broader social and political situations.
The texts she draws upon — ranging from Nina Simone and Maya Angelou to Phillip Larkin — often direct the artist’s medium, which has been known to include deeply evocative moving image work which oscillates between the private and the collective.
The proposal which won Helen the award focuses on the expression of lament; the role of voice and the feeling of mourning or loss, resilience and survival for the individual and the collective drawing on both the political and historical.
The residency which spans institutions in Bologna, Florence, Venice and Rome will see Helen study everything from Baroque art to the history of Italian music, literature and society. Ending in Reggio Emilia – a city that gives its name to a radical model for education through wellbeing – Helen plans to use this innovative model as a guide to conducting participatory research and conversations with those living on the margins of society today.
The Whitechapel gallery is known for premiering world-class artists from modern masters to contemporaries, and it’s clear to us that Helen’s major solo show will stand ground among those who have presented their work there before her including Nan Goldin, Sophie Calle and Sarah Lucas.
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