Whitechapel Gallery is delighted to announce Chloe Carroll as the winner of the 2020 NEON Curatorial Award, the announcement of which has been postponed for two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The judging panel for the 2020 NEON Curatorial Award was chaired by Nayia Yiakoumaki, Project Manager of NEON Curatorial Exchange & Award until 2020 and included previous NEON Award winners Elina Axioti (2014), Caterina Avataneo (2017), Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk (2012), and Annika Thiems (2019).

Today, after receiving the NEON Award in their respective years, Avataneo is an independent curator based in Turin, Thiems is a curator, writer and designer based in London, Lekkerkerk is a curator and writer in the fields of art and ecology based in The Netherlands and Axioti is a curator and academic in the field of architecture and social studies based in Berlin and Athens.

For the 2020 edition of the NEON Curatorial Award, participants were invited to consider the theme of ‘public space’ through the lens of the Covid-19 pandemic, responding to the question: Has our understanding of public space changed through this shared global experience?

Proposals were submitted from aspiring curators from Greece, as well as students and alumni from the following Masters programmes: Curating the Art Museum, Courtauld Institute of Art; Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Curating, Goldsmiths College

Winner Chloe Carroll received the award from Dimitris Daskalopoulos for her submission proposal Illuminations at a ceremony held at the Whitechapel Gallery on Thursday 27 October 2022.

Carroll’s Illuminations is a programme of performance and ephemeral artworks surfacing over the course of one evening within the vicinity of Boundary Gardens, London E2. The title derived from the term for miniature illustrations, decorative borders and marginalia commonly found in manuscripts from the Middle Ages.

The NEON Award 2020 judging panel commented: ‘Carroll’s proposal responds to the theme of ‘public space’ through the lens of the pandemic with a subversive intervention at Arnold Circus, inviting the artists Gabriella Hirst, Sam Keogh and Rosa Johan Uddoh to activate this contested area within the gentrified Shoreditch neighbourhood; set within a neoliberal economy and its increasing degree of privatization and consequent displacement, the programme offers a post-pandemic horizon that opens a discussion around the importance of public space. Illuminations shakes up the dull monotony of the 2020 lockdown and the related socio-political issues with a series of live events, turning the calm roundabout back into a space of dissent.’

Carroll is a curator and writer based in London. Her curatorial work includes I write this for you in the year of the violin 18902022, a site-specific commission of new work by Andrew Pierre Hart responding to the antique instruments in the collection of Robert Young Antiques for Contemporary Collaborations (2022); and The Unexpected Beautiful Phrase, a live programme of performance, sound, poetry, film and discussion at Nottingham Contemporary, featuring work by Department for International Dance Development, Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman, Rosa Johan Uddoh, Christopher Kirubi, Raju Rage, Holly Pester, Dorine Van Meel and Jules Sturm (2019). Her writing has been published in Art Monthly, Elephant, art-agenda and ArtReview.

Notes to Editors

The NEON Curatorial Award ran from 2012 – 2020 and was open to curators across Greece and London, including students and alumni students from London Metropolitan University and Whitechapel Gallery, The Courtauld Institute, Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art. The award built on Whitechapel Gallery’s local and international networks with academic departments of curatorial studies.

Since the Curatorial Exchange/Award programme began in 2012, a total of 182 curators from Greece and London have participated.

The NEON Curatorial Award was part of the NEON Curatorial Exchange, in which curators benefit from a four-day study trip to Athens and London, including guided tours of the Athenian and London art scene. The exchange was designed to open up networking and professional development opportunities for young curators. The programme was organised by the Whitechapel Gallery and was been devised and coordinated by Nayia Yiakoumaki, former Curator and Head of Curatorial Studies at the Whitechapel Gallery and Project Manager of the NEON Curatorial Exchange and Award, now Director of the Hellenic Centre in London and Curatorial Consultant at Whitechapel Gallery and London South Bank University.

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