"Bold, beautiful and distinctive filmmaking." Ursula Mayer Wins 2014 Jarman Award
Date posted: 08.12.2014
"It was the work of Ursula Mayer that came closest to touching on the language that Derek Jarman himself so often strived for." - the 2014 Jury
At a glittering ceremony in Whitechapel Gallery, London-based artist Ursula Mayer was announced winner of the 2014 Jarman Award – our annual celebration of the UK's most talented, visionary and boundary-pushing visual artists working today.
Selected from a 10-strong shortlist, the Austrian-born artist receives a £10,000 cash prize and a commission for Channel 4's short-form arts strand, Random Acts.
Sebastian Buerkner, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, and Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard were also awarded a Random Acts commission.
About the winner
Praised by the 2014 jury for her "combination of carefully composed tableaux, elegant technical skill and subversive beauty," Mayer's practice is grounded in the semiotics of cinema. Her adaptation of more traditional cinematic tropes is in the tradition of Derek Jarman's innovations in film, making her a particularly appropriate winner of the award.
Having studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Mayer completed her MA at Goldsmiths College in 2005. Her single and multi-channel films are dialogues with all areas of contemporary culture including architecture, fashion, literature, politics, mythology, geology and visual art.
"Mayer has a body of work which is truly inspired," commented Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission on the announcement. He continued that Mayer's work "encapsulates what we seek to promote: bold, beautiful, distinctive and boundary-crossing filmmaking that manages to both challenge and reward."
The Award was presented by filmmaker John Maybury. A friend and collaborator of Jarman, Maybury also sat on this year's high-profile judging panel. He was joined by: Director of Whitechapel Gallery Iwona Blazwick; Channel 4's Commissioning Editor for Arts John Hay; Steven Cairns, Associate Curator of Artists' Film & Moving Image at the ICA; and Beatrice Gibson, artist and filmmaker, herself nominated for the Award last year.
The jury had their work cut out, eventually selecting Ursula Mayer as the winner from a shortlist representing some of the best artist filmmakers working today: John Akomfrah, Sebastian Buerkner, Laura Buckley, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Steven Claydon, Redmond Entwistle, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Ursula Mayer, Rachel Reupke and Stephen Sutcliffe.
Explaining their decision, the Jury said "It was the work of Ursula Mayer that came closest to touching on the language that Derek Jarman himself so often strived for." Mayer, they continued, fuses "historical research with a dazzling contemporary aesthetic," bringing to life "the heroines and bêtes noires of feminist Modernism".
"She has brought to the screen a cast of remarkable contemporary performers," the Jury explained, referring to her work with transgender model Valentijn de Hingh among others, saying this was very much "in the spirit of Jarman."
About the Jarman Award
Ursula Mayer becomes the seventh winner of the annual Jarman Award, which was launched in 2008 to recognise and support the work of UK-based moving image artists whose work resists conventional definition.
Mayer joins the esteemed company of previous winners Luke Fowler (2008), Lindsay Seers (2009), Emily Wardill (2010), Anya Kirschner & David Panos (2011), James Richards (2012) and last year's winner John Smith.