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Friday 18 September 2009

Prix Pictet Shortlist Unveiled

Work by twelve of the world’s leading photographers, one of whom will receive this year’s prestigious Prix Pictet photography prize for environmental sustainability will go on display for the first time at Purdy Hicks Gallery, London from 5 to 7 October.

The Prix Pictet is an annual search for photographs that communicate powerful messages of global environmental significance under a broad theme. This year that theme is ‘earth’. Photographers shortlisted for the £60,000 (CHF100,000) prize are Darren Almond, Christopher Anderson, Sammy Baloji, Edward Burtynsky, Andreas Gursky, Naoya Hatakeyama, Nadav Kander, Ed Kashi, Abbas Kowsari, Yao Lu, Edgar
Martins and Chris Steele-Perkins.

This London preview is two weeks in advance of the prize announcement and exhibition opening at the Passage de Retz in Paris on 22 October and a world tour of the exhibition.

Kofi Annan, honorary president of Prix Pictet said: ‘In just a few weeks time, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference. We know that there is a huge amount at stake. Experts warn of the potentially catastrophic costs including the spread of famine, disease and conflict unless we first halt and, eventually, reverse the changes we are causing to our atmosphere. The photographs nominated for the Prix Pictet make a compelling case to all of us – countries, businesses and individuals – to live in a more sustainable way. But there is an extra responsibility on those of us privileged to live in clean and healthy environments: to act to help those who do not. I congratulate all the artists who have been shortlisted for the 2009 prize. They have met their challenge. It is now up to the rest of us to do the same.’

For 2009 Pictet & Cie will support Azafady’s Voly Hazo project that aims to preserve the earth from degredation and the eventual desertification that is seen so widely in Madagascar with a programme of tree planting and preservation of the natural forest. One of the photographers shortlisted for the Prix Pictet will be commissioned to visit Madagascar with the Azafady team in order to produce a series of photographs that will highlight many of the issues that Azafady are focusing on in this unique and endangered environment. An exhibition of that work will launch the 2010 prize in the Spring 2010.

An independent jury of seven leading figures from the worlds of the visual arts and the environment, chaired by the Financial Times. photography critic, Francis Hodgson, made the shortlist selection from over 300 nominations put forward by the seventy Prix Pictet nominators – a group that includes leading critics, practitioners and curators.

Francis Hodgson, chair of the judges said ‘The artistic and technical quality of the entries from photographers around the world has been quite exceptional and the power of the messages the photographers have been able to communicate is extraordinary. The brief - to communicate sustainability issues through photography, with particular reference to this
year’s theme of ‘earth’ - has been interpreted with tremendous variety and vigour. Whether reporting in detail on development or aiming more broadly to stimulate thought, the photographers have achieved a very high level of impact. I and the other members of the panel look forward with keen anticipation to selecting the winner of this exciting and
prestigious prize.’

Earth is published by teNeues and includes the work of the 12 shortlisted artists and others nominated for the 2009 prize.All speak of the harmful and often irreversible effects of exploiting the earth’s resources and reflect on the immediate and long-term impact of unsustainable development on communities across the globe.

The full portfolios of each shortlisted artist will be shown at the Passage de Retz gallery in Paris from 23 October to 24 November, following the announcement of the winner and Azafady commission by Kofi Annan on 22 October.

Visitor information for Prix Pictet 2009
Exhibition: Prix Pictet 2009: Earth (London preview)
Purdy Hicks Gallery | 65 Hopton Street | Bankside | London SE1 9GZ
5 to 7 October 2009: 10am - 6pm
purdyhicks.com | prixpictet.com | madagascar.co.uk

Exhibition: Prix Pictet 2009: Earth
Passage de Retz | 9 rue Charlot | 75003 Paris
23 October to 24 November 2009
Monday - Friday: 10am - 7pm | Saturday & Sunday: 10am - 8pm

For details of 2010 international touring venues visit prixpictet.com

Fairs and festivals
FIAC | fiac.com | 22 to 25 October 2009
Paris Photo | parisphoto.fr | 19 to 22 November 2009

Prix Pictet 2009 – Jury
Benoit Aquin, photographer and winner of the Prix Pictet 2008
Jan Dalley, Financial Times, Arts Editor
Loa Haagen Pictet, Danish art historian and curator of the Pictet & Cie collection of Swiss art.
Zaha Hadid, Founding Partner of Zaha Hadid Architects
Francis Hodgson, Photography Critic, Financial Times and former Head of Photography, Sotheby’s
Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Director of the
Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University
Fumio Nanjo, Director, The Mori Art Museum

All images (c) the artists

Image One: Darren Almond, West Sea Canyon, 2009C-print, 270.7 x 109.2 cm, China. Courtesy the artist and Prix Pictet

Image Two: Ed Kashi, Nigeria, 2006Series: Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta. Archival inkjet, 40 x 50 cm, Rivers State Nigeria. Courtesy the artist and Prix Pictet

Image Three: Nadav Kander, Construction Mound, Chongqing, 2006Series: Yangtze, The Long River Series. Courtesy the artist and Prix Pictet

Image Four: Naoya Hatakeyama, Blast no.5707, 1998C-print, 100 x 150 cm, Japan. Courtesy the artist and Prix Pictet

Wednesday 16 September 2009

Is Sound Art Just A Lot of White Noise?

Good old Leeds is set to host Expo Leeds, the UK’s largest weekend of sound art and experimental music from 24-29 September 2009, is set to illustrate the powerful, creative and playful nature of listening.

Sound art, is an acquired taste. I feel as if you really need to enter it with an open mind. I’ve heard some incredible sounds, things that I didn’t even think about listening to, which is the beauty of sound art, but at the same time, I’ve heard some recordings that can drown your consciousness in a litany of mixed up sounds. I must admit, I am open to new things, so if experimental is your cup of tea, then this free festival in Leeds should be up your street. Expo Leeds will unveil a programme of major new sound art commissions for the city, including work by artists of international standing; Christina Kubisch, Paul Rooney, Lee Patterson, Chris Watson, Yannick Dauby and Mira Calix. The festival includes live performances, public events, workshops and a wiki-based, self-organising conference, to spark ideas about sound art and its relation to place and society.

The festival, presented by Sound and Music and Media & Arts Partnership (MAAP), moves this year from Brighton to Leeds, and offers visitors the chance to re-engage with the city in new, creative ways and to experience space, time and the urban setting through the art of listening.

Expo Leeds will unveil major new commissions including:
·Nick Rothwell & Lewis Sykes will create ‘PEAL: A Virtual Bell Tower’,
an interactive multimedia commission for the Arena space at the Grade II listed Leeds City Museum, re-opened in 2008. Taking bell sounds from Leeds churches, PEAL invites audiences to play with the traditions of change ringing.

·A pioneer of the sound art genre, German-artist Christina Kubisch will
produce a new installation at The Light, Leeds, inviting passers by to pick up
headphones and take an ‘electrical walk’ through the shopping centre, revealing a soundscape not audible to the naked ear.

·Winner of the 2008 Northern Art Prize, UK sound and video artist Paul
Rooney will culminate a 12-month commission with a series of performances, exploring the decommissioned Leeds Metropolitan University’s H Building, and the lost stories and disembodied voices of its inhabitants, both fictional and real.

·Musician and artist Mira Calix, who’s recent work in Leeds has included
Collaborations with United Visual Artists and Opera North, is working alongside artists Adrian Sinclair, Kypros Kyprianou & Glenn Boulter, with local young people to present experimental sound works at Leeds City Museum, that explore the collections and museum interior spaces.

A performance at the Howard Assembly Room will highlight the works of Peter Cusack, Chris Watson (long-time BBC broadcaster of the natural environment), Yannick Dauby and Lee Patterson. Live performances featuring local and national sonic art and noise music will be held on the Saturday and Sunday evenings. Expo Leeds will also present a new sound work designed to interact with pedestrians using the centrally located Millennium Square, through the BBC’s big screen.

Over 4 days, installations, screenings and live performance will happen in a wide array of unusual venues and public spaces. Chosen from an unprecedented 300 entries in response to the open call for artists’ work,
Expo Leeds represents the cutting edge of sound art, presented for specialist and non-specialist audiences. The programme will also turn its
gaze towards the city and its future in a special workshop for practicing urban design professionals, run in partnership with RIBA Yorkshire and the Positive Soundscaping research programme.

Sue Ball, of Media & Arts Partnership said: ‘Expo represents a very special opportunity for the city of Leeds, welcoming the national public and artists to become immersed in what’s new in sound art and experimental music. Leeds’ music scene is truly diverse and it is rightfully proud of its traditions, from its DIY roots to the staging of international music events such as the Fuse festival and Opera North’s extended programme; the city is a hotbed of interest in the contemporary nature of sound and music. Pioneering works by Bill Fontana on the fa├žade of Leeds City Art Gallery, and sound artist Hans Peter Kuhn’s work for the soon-to-be-launched ‘Light’ Neville Street, demonstrate the potency of public sound art. Expo Leeds takes this thirst for sound and music and sites it within the common places, where audiences can listen a-fresh.’

Richard Whitelaw of Sound and Music said: Year on year, Expo is where internationally reputed artists rub shoulders with the next generation of newcomers in this rapidly growing art form. Leeds is a pioneering city in many ways, with a long-established history of commissioning new sound art, and a place the art world should be tuned into. Its industrial heritage has left the city with some stunning and acoustically fascinating spaces that our artists have been inspired to work with. The canvas is sound, the setting is Leeds, and the experience is for anyone with a mind to stop, listen and enjoy.’

Expo Leeds: Festival of Sound Art, 24-29 September 2009

Listen to Sound Files from Expo

Christina Kubisch 16 Titel

Christina Kubisch Titel 31

Tuesday 15 September 2009

emerge at the 2009 London Design Festival

emerge – the London Design Festival’s debut graduate graphic design showcase –has announced details of the 2009 programme and exhibition, to be held at Rich Mix from 19th – 27th September. A first for the London Design Festival (LDF), emerge will host a range of shows and initiatives throughout the Festival, aiming to inspire young designers, and support recent graduates in the field. The shows are some of the best places to pick up on emerging talent (pardon the pun), but seriously, worth a glance - raw creativity.

Curated by Fraser Muggeridge, the Rich Mix show will bring together 22 of the country’s finest graphic design graduates, showcasing their portfolios and introducing their work to London’s design community. This eclectic exhibition encompasses stimulating traditional graphic design, including posters and packaging through to vibrant and exciting conceptual pieces.

Working in collaboration with Pentagram, emerge will also present a unique take on the London Design Festival’s poster exhibition at the V&A; the results highlighting the response of young talent in comparison to that of established designers. Not only a face-off between the industry’s leading designers and new graduates, the emerge poster display will form the basis of the inaugural emerge graduate award, with one winning graduate poster design to be selected by the V&A show designers.

The emerge graduate award, to be announced at a London ceremony on Friday 25 September, will annually award outstanding innovation and excellence in graduates, while raising awareness of the importance of young designers. emerge will also invite graduates to submit postcard designs, with all entries to be showcased on a postcard wall – ensuring that every graduate in the country will have the opportunity to present their work as part of the London Design Festival.

As well as introducing cutting-edge design work to the London Design Festival,
emerge encourages development within the creative industries, and the show will be supported by a series of lectures, talks and portfolio clinics with young designers and industry leaders. Highlights are set to include lecture ‘b inspired’, sponsored by the Bridgeman Art Library in which three designers talk about the inspiration behind their work, and the ‘My Way’ event, in which young graphic designers discuss their route to success, from graduate to professional, with portfolio critique and advice.

For more information please visit www.thisisemerge.com.

For more on design please read our blog on chairs.

All images (c) the artists.

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