Max Mara Art Prize 4th Edition: 2011 - 2013

Laure Prouvost

Winner: Laure Prouvost

Proposal: Farfromwords: car mirrors eat raspberries when swimming through the sun, to swallow sweet smells

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, former Director of Whitechapel Gallery, announced Laure Prouvost as the winner of the fourth Max Mara Art Prize for Women, at the Italian Embassy, London on 22 November 2011. 

About Laure Prouvost

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. 

About the Awarded Artwork

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.  A book published by Whitechapel Gallery in collaboration with Collezione Maramotti accompanied the exhibition, which opened at Whitechapel Gallery: 20 March – 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.

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