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John Smith wins the 2013 Film London Jarman Award

Date posted: 06.11.2013

At a lively ceremony in London's Whitechapel Gallery, artist John Smith has been announced the winner of the 2013 Film London Jarman Award.

Practicing since the 1970s, Smith has built up a body of experimental video work that impressed the judges with its disciplinary variety and experimental approach - values that go back to the essence and spirit of Jarman himself. 

Shortlisted artists Ed Atkins, Emma Hart and Rachel Maclean join him in receiving a commission from Channel 4's short-form arts strand, Random Acts, and Smith also receives a £10,000 prize.

John Smith's experimentation and influence

John Smith's 2012 Dad's Stick

Across 40 years, Smith has produced over 50 film, video and installation works that subvert the perceived boundaries between documentary and fiction. Born and bred in London, the city frequently features in his work, its fabric shifting in front of Smith's probing transformative lens. 

His often humorous work has made an important contribution to artists' moving image practice in the UK and beyond, and in recent years his work has been increasingly visible within an international art world context. Smith's Horizon (Five Pounds a Belgian) was a hit with audiences when it was exhibited last year at the Turner Contemporary, and his recent Dad's Stick received both the ARTE Prize for European Short Film and the Jean Vigo Prize for Best Director.

Now Smith's creative approach to moving image art will be seen by thousands across the UK when Channel 4 screens his special Jarman Award Random Acts commission next year.

Find out more about John Smith and see his work

About the Jarman Award

Derek Jarman was one of the most esteemed and controversial artists of the late 20th century. This annual prize is inspired by him, his work and his approach.

Now in its sixth year, the Award celebrates the spirit of experimentation and imagination fundamental to Jarman's work by acknowledging contemporary UK artist film-makers who take risks, resists boundaries and defy convention.

The winner receives £10,000 and a commission from Channel 4's Random Acts. Three other shortlisted artists also receive a commission.

Find out more about the Jarman Award

The 2013 Jury

L-R Winner of 2013 Jarman Award John Smith, sculptor Andrew Logan, Whitechapel Director Iwona Blazwick and Maggie Ellis, Film London's Head of Artists' Moving Image

Representing galleries, practitioners and critics, the 2014 Jury offered a broad range of knowledge and experience of the art world. In choosing Smith as the winner and selecting the other artists to receive a Random Acts commission this year, the jury explained:

"we returned to the essence and spirit of Jarman himself, as a British film-maker with a love for experimentation, pageantry, and his borderless approach to disciplines - he was transgressive".

Chaired by Stuart Comer, Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Jury included:

  • Iwona Blazwick OBE Director, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Tabitha Jackson Commissioning Editor for Arts, Channel 4
  • Carol Morley Film-maker
  • Omar Kholeif Curator writer and editor
  • Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead (Thomson & Craighead), Artists
  • Francesca Gavin Visual Arts Editor, Dazed & Confused

Previous winners

Held every year since 2008, the five previous winners of the Jarman Award are:

See the full 2013 Jarman Award shortlist | Read the winner's press release

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