Max Mara Art Prize 4th Edition: 2011 - 2013

Laure Prouvost


The fourth edition of the Prize shortlist boasted a distinguished shortlist comprising Spartacus Chetwynd, Christina Mackie, Avis Newman, Laure Prouvost and Emily Wardill.

The jury: artist Lisa Milroy; art collector Muriel Salem; gallerist Amanda Wilkinson, and writer and critic Gilda Williams, chaired by Iwona Blazwick, announced Laure Prouvost as the winner of the fourth Max Mara Art Prize for Women, at the Italian Embassy, London on 22 November 2011.


Born in Lille (France) in 1978. Lives and works in London. Prouvost studied at Central St Martins, London and then at Goldsmiths College, London. Her work is characterised by the employment of combination of media. Prouvost is an artist with an appetite for exploring different cultures and she seizes the artistic potential of her impressions to create gripping, narratively-rich films and installations. Her winning project was hugely inspired by her Italian residency, consolidating the sensuous and surreal in her work. After the Max Mara Art Prize, she went on to win the Turner Prize in 2013. She had solo exhibitions in many important international venues, among which Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; High Line Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MMK Frankfurt; CAPC Bordeaux; New Museum, New York; Tate Britain, London. She represented France in the 2019 Venice Biennale.


Laure Prouvost’s project opens new horizons of meaning by blurring the connection between language and understanding. Her two-part installation Farfromwords: car mirrors eat raspberries when swimming through the sun, to swallow sweet smells is inspired by the aesthetic and sensuous pleasures of Italy and plays on the historic tradition of visiting the Mediterranean for inspiration. Farfromwords comprises a large-scale pavilion-like structure recalling a historical panorama: a circular space is interspersed with collaged elements, including photographic prints, paint and pairs of video monitors showing footage of moving heads and feet. This immersive environment leads to an idyllic inner space revealing a new film, Swallow (2013). The gentle rhythm of breathing accompanies surrealist imagery and shots of blue skies, ripe fruit and modern-day nymphs. By conveying visual and sensory pleasure through fragments of footage, the film alludes to events and encounters from the artist’s Italian residency split between the city of Rome and rural Biella. The exhibition opened at Whitechapel Gallery on the 20 March until the 7 April 2013 before touring to Collezione Maramotti: 3 May – 3 November 2013.

The video Swallow was loaned for the show Résonance(s), Maison Particulière, Bruxelles, in 2014 and at the Museum Frieder Burda / Salon Berlin in 2018.

Image Credit: Laure Prouvost, Farfromwords: car mirrors eat raspberries when swimming through the sun, to swallow sweet smells, 20 March – 7 April 2013, Whitechapel Gallery