The Whitechapel Gallery, Collezione Maramotti and Max Mara are delighted to announce the six shortlisted artists for the seventh edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Helen Cammock, Céline Condorelli, Eloise Hawser, Athena Papadopoulos, Lis Rhodes and Mandy El-Sayegh. This weekend the artists travelled to Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy, for the announcement as well as to celebrate the opening of the major art work Mamma Mia!, by the sixth winner of the prize, Emma Hart. Mamma Mia! tours from the Whitechapel Gallery where it was unveiled this summer.

Featuring artists that work across a range of mediums, the shortlisted artists were selected by a judging panel chaired by Iwona Blazwick OBE, former Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, and joined by gallerist Vanessa Carlos, Carlos/Ishikawa, London; artist and previous recipient of the prize Laure Prouvost; collector Marcelle Joseph and art critic Rachel Spence.

The Max Mara Art Prize for Women was established by the Whitechapel Gallery in collaboration with the Max Mara Fashion Group in 2005. Its aim is to promote and support female artists based in the UK, enabling artists to develop their potential. The winning artist, announced in early 2018, is awarded a bespoke six-month artist residency in locations around Italy after presenting the judges with a proposal for a new body of work. During the residency, which is organised by Collezione Maramotti in collaboration with Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery, the artist has the opportunity to realise an ambitious new project which is presented in major solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

On behalf of the judging panel, Iwona Blazwick, OBE, former Director of the Whitechapel Gallery and chair of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women jury, said: ‘For many years women artists had worked under the radar. But due to this great prize artists of different generations have been given the opportunity to spend formative months exploring Italy; and the resources to create a major new commission that situates them on the world stage. The jury has nominated six outstanding artists for the prize this year – we look forward to seeing their proposals.’

The shortlisted artists for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women 2017-19 are:

Helen Cammock (b. 1970)
Helen Cammock’s practice spans moving image, photography, writing, poetry, spoken word, song, printmaking and installation. Her interests map literature and poetry, both her own and found, onto social and political situations. She is interested in histories, storytelling and the position of the marginal individual and collective voice. She regularly uses video in order to explore narrative forms, and the relationship between aural and visual perception. In her most recent film work Moveable Bridge (2017), Cammock drew on material from Nina Simone, Philip Larkin, Winifred Holtby and the Housemartins to reveal the way in which we construct our own personal collage of influences and reference points to establish our own sense of self, context and history.

Céline Condorelli (b. 1974)
Céline Condorelli is fascinated by the notion of ‘support’. Her practice considers how all human behaviour and activity takes place amidst countless support structures, which could be emotional, legal or physical, and are often taken for granted. She has explored this interest through installations and performances that draw on both politics and fiction. In a number of her works she alters what she describes as ‘existing conditions’, which could be the architecture of a gallery to the use of specific objects. Condorelli often collaborates with other people, for example she worked on the publication Support Structures (2003-09) with artist-curator Gavin Wade and James Langdon.

Eloise Hawser (b. 1985)
Eloise Hawser works with an expanded notion of ‘fabrication’, looking at the production of knowledge, networks, and individual objects. Hawser positions the human body as both agent and site in her exploration of the architectural, mechanical and electrical systems that sustain our collective existence. Her work is researched focused, frequently unearthing what is hidden or buried. Her forthcoming exhibition at Somerset House will explore the unseen flow of waste through the sewers of London, while also displaying – for the first time in public – a selection of ‘imaging phantoms’ used by medical researchers to predict patterns of flow in the body. The show resonates with her 2015 exhibition Lives on Wire at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where she created a site-specific installation, repurposing a resistor mechanism from an old cinema organ to produce rainbow strobes that transformed the gallery through shifting coloured light. Ordinary and commonplace items also appear in her work, such as security roller doors and her father’s shoes.

Athena Papadopoulos (b. 1988)
Using cosmetic, medicinal, and edible ingredients, Athena Papadopoulos stains layers of cotton bedsheets with red wine, lipstick, hair dyes, Pepto Bismol, and self¬tanner. Drawings and photographs of women are layered into dense collages: Papadopoulos chemically transfers, cuts, and stitches her own photographs into and alongside imagery gleaned from literature, art history, and popular culture. Papadopoulos’ action of isolating and recombining images therefore becomes a way of thinking about the construction of subjectivity in general and femininity in particular.

Lis Rhodes (b. 1942)
Since the 1970s, Rhodes has been making radical and experimental films that challenge the viewer to reconsider film as a medium of communication and presentation of image, language, and sound. The films she makes have a strong formal aesthetic and engage with the failures and power structures of language. Sound has been a defining element in Rhodes’ work, and in the composition and mixing of voices – often her own – each track is taken apart and re-composed, replacing and displacing words out of time. Prominent works include Dresden Dynamo at Arte Inglese Oggi, Milan, in 1976 and her ‘expanded’ cinema work Light Music, which was motivated by the lack of women composers in classical European composition at Tate Modern in 2012. One of Rhodes’ most recent works, Whitehall (2012) was partly shot amid protests in London against student fees and cuts to public services.

Mandy El-Sayegh (b. 1985)
Mandy El-Sayegh’s research-based practice is concerned with the part-to-whole relation. She works across painting, printing, installation, drawing and writing to create layered works about the fragmented self and wider society. She employs found materials collected from the home, used as part of a daily routine or encountered digitally. For her Sharjah Art Foundation commission, Boundary Work (2017), El-Sayegh presented examples of English and Arabic calligraphy produced by her father in a daily exercise he calls ‘practice.’ By overlaying multiple examples of her father’s ‘practices’, she wanted to suggest that that these words, often made-up or chosen for the shape they make on the page, only make sense when seen in a certain context.


Notes for Editors

The Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery is a biannual award established in 2005. It is the only visual art prize for women in the UK and aims to promote and nurture female artists, enabling them to develop their potential with the gift of time and space. The winner is awarded a six-month Italian residency tailored to fit the artist and their winning proposal for the Prize. During the residency, which is organised by Collezione Maramotti in collaboration with Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery, the artist has the opportunity to realise an ambitious new project which is presented in major solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The prize is open to women artists living and working in the United Kingdom who have not previously had a major solo survey exhibition. The partners of the prize are Max Mara, Whitechapel Gallery and Collezione Maramotti who collaborate on each phase of the prize. Each year a jury, chaired by the Whitechapel Gallery Director, and including a gallerist, critic, artist and collector, agree a shortlist of five artists before the winner is decided based on the artists’ proposals. The Max Mara Art Prize for Women was awarded the British Council Arts & Business International Award in 2007 and has enabled winning artists to take major steps in their careers. Previous winners of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women are:
-Emma Hart (2015 – 17) – Hart’s (b. 1974) large-scale installation, Mamma Mia! is the culmination of an investigation into pattern, from visual patterns to patterns of psychological behaviour. The work also looks at the design and rupture of pattern and the ruminations in between. The work was on show at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom, from 12 July – 3 September 2017 and is on display at Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy, from 15 October 2017 – 18 February 2018.
-Corin Sworn (2013 – 15) – Sworn (b.1976) created a work drawing from the Commedia dell’Arte improvised plays originating in 16th century Italy. The work was on show at Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy until 28 February 2016. Sworn was awarded the Leverhulme Prize 2015 which recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising.
-Laure Prouvost (2011 – 13) – Laure Prouvost created an ambitious new large-scale installation for her Max Mara Art Prize exhibition. In 2013 she was awarded the Turner Prize.
-Andrea Büttner (2009 – 11) – Part of Andrea Büttner’s work created for her Max Mara Art Prize exhibition, The Poverty of Riches, and titled Untitled (Paintings) (2011) was included in the Whitechapel Gallery’s landmark exhibition Adventures of the Black Square in 2015.
-Hannah Rickards (2007 – 09) – The prize enabled Hannah Rickards to realise an ambitious new work she had been researching before winning the Prize. Rickards was also awarded the Leverhulme Prize in 2015 and had a major exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in 2014.
-Margaret Salmon (2005 – 07) – Margaret Salmon travelled to Italy and created a triptych of black and white films exploring themes of motherhood. She went on to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 2007.

The Max Mara Fashion Group was founded in 1951 by Achille Maramotti and is now run by the next generation. It is one of the largest women’s ready-to-wear companies in the world, with 2668 stores in more than 100 different countries.

The Collezione Maramotti opened to the public in Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2007. It is a private collection of contemporary art with an important historical collection (1950-2000); it continues to present new projects and commissions from international mid-career and young artists. For further information, please visit

For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters to contemporaries. The Gallery is renowned for showcasing emerging and established female artists and has presented major solo exhibitions of Barbara Hepworth (1955), Eva Hesse (1979), Frida Kahlo (1982), Nan Goldin (2002), Sophie Calle (2009), Gillian Wearing (2012) and Sarah Lucas (2013). The Gallery is a touchstone for modern and contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.


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