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Image of Jarman Award 2016, award event group shot

Heather Phillipson wins 2016 Jarman Award

Date posted: 28.11.2016

Heather Phillipson has won the coveted annual Film London Jarman Award, announced at a special event at London’s Whitechapel Gallery. She receives £10,000 prize money, as well as a commission for Channel 4’s Random Acts strand.

The Award was presented by charismatic and outspoken performer Toyah Willcox, who began her film career in 1977 when film director Derek Jarman offered her the role of ‘Mad’ in his seminal punk epic Jubilee.

Heather Phillipson was chosen from a distinguished shortlist of artists featuring Sophia Al Maria, Cécile B. Evans, Shona Illingworth, Mikhail Karikis and Rachel Maclean. All six artists will receive a film commission for Channel 4’s short-form arts strand Random Acts.

Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission said: “We’re delighted to announce Heather Phillipson as this year’s winner of the Jarman Award for a body of work that is complex, anarchic and deftly views global events through a very personal lens. She collages images, sounds and words with the sense of pacing and rhythm as you might expect from someone who is also a poet and musician."

About Heather Phillipson

Heather Phillipson was born in 1978. She grew up in London and rural Pembrokeshire, Wales and now lives in South East London. She was named a Next Generation Poet in 2014 and was Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2015. Her work is held in a number of public and private collections, and she has had solo shows at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. She is currently showing work in New York (New Museum), Iceland (Cycle Festival of Music and Art, Kopavagur) and at the Sao Paolo Biennale, and is working on a commission for Art on the Underground.

Heather Phillipson creates immersive landscapes of audio, film and installation. Her film and video work merges with sculptural installation and text, often creating dramatic structures that the viewer participates in or walks or climbs through – from a giant foot in the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt to dogs at Frieze Projects, New York. Her hypnotic work is a collage that incorporates pulsing beats, toxic colours, music, and text. For her video Final Days she transformed disused shops in New York and Sheffield into an 18-screen video installation that commented on the disembodied experience of shopping. A published poet, she uses fast-paced montage to combine objects, images, words and sounds. 

The Jury

Following an invited nomination process surveying experts from across the UK’s contemporary film and arts sectors, the overall winner was selected by an Award Jury.

This year’s Award Jury were: Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery; Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film), Tate Modern and Film London Board Member; Pegah Farahmand, Editor, Random Acts, Channel 4; Adam Chodzko, Artist; Emma Morris, Executive Director, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; and Filmmaker, Joanna Hogg.

The Jury said: "We saw plenty of colour and dare in the work from this year’s shortlisted artists, who are not afraid to use humour to draw in and unsettle their audiences. These six shortlisted artists are engaged with the world around them and bring to the fore major current issues that we all face – from human emotions, memory and identity in the digital era, through terrorism, consumerism and inequality, to the changing nature of work in the post-industrial age. We were deeply engrossed in the work that both entertained and gave us food for thought."

Jules Wright Prize for Female Creative Technician

In addition to the Jarman Award, editor Lucy Harris received the Jules Wright Prize of £5,000 for Female Creative Technician.

Named after the late founder of The Wapping Project, a successful theatre director, curator and long-time champion of women in the arts, the prize seeks to recognise, reward and highlight female creative technicians who have made a significant contribution to artists’ films.

Harris has worked with artists such as Rosalind Nashashibi, Bridget Smith and Alia Syed, and was praised for her profound understanding of the artistic process that enables her to be particularly supportive and insightful.

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