Desires for materialism, sex and rest feature in 2018 John Fries Award Finalists exhibition

Published by: Copyright Agency | 28-Oct-2018
The 2018 John Fries Award exhibition is now open to the public at UNSW Galleries featuring this year's winner of the annual $10,000 John Fries Award, Sydney-based artist Akil Ahamat for his video and installation work So The Spaces Between Us Can Stay Soft. #JohnFriesMemorialPrize
Guest Curator, Consuelo Cavaniglia, says: "The 12 artists in the 2018 John Fries Award exhibition are socially, politically and culturally engaged and they present a series of propositions, questions, mediations and provocations around the contemporary state of existence."

Akil Ahamat, the John Fries Award winner for 'So the spaces between us can stay soft' 2018 is a video and installation work that explores the connection between desire of material goods and high performance luxury sportswear through a virtual experience. His installations are interactive and all are visually alluring and beautifully produced.

Emily Parsons-Lord's works 'To join us you must lose yourself' (a troublesome itching) 2017 explores the artist's sense of losing control of her desires through her chemical biology and of perverse salacious obsession.

Emily explains, "To breed pigs, farmers use HogMate; a synthesised pheromone that makes pigs"¦[want to mate]. In 2016, I experienced for the first time the intoxicating impulse to sleep with men (it coincides with my ovulation), and then Trump became president. The colour of the wall for To join us you must lose yourself is Trump's skin colour taken from an official whitehouse portrait, and the colour of the powder coating on the brush is his hair colour."

Jelena Telecki's installations are of figures and bodies hiding, suffocating, resting, lost or forgotten. Cavaniglia believes we break the moment when we enter the space, feeling like we shouldn't be there, or else if we hadn't intruded, the scenario could be much worse. "The work has a sense of absurdist humour and is quietly disturbing," she adds.

"This year's high-calibre finalists offer a unique glimpse into the themes that concern contemporary artists today," says Cavaniglia. "Considerations of time have repeatedly surfaced as drivers of the exhibition work. In many of the works we see an engagement with time within the medium itself, evident in the strong presence of video and moving image work, the temporality of dance and the ephemerality of sound."

Since its inception in 2010, the John Fries Award Exhibition has become a platform and launching pad for early career visual artists.

The public exhibition program includes:

In Pursuit: Exhibition-making now

Wednesday, 24 October, 11:30am UNSW Galleries
Moderated by Consuelo Cavaniglia, hear from curators with a range of experiences pursuing definitions of what exhibition making is, and what it can be.

Emerging Artist Panel Discussion, Where to From Here

Thursday, 25 October, 5:30pm UNSW Galleries
Emerging' and early career' are terms that don't speak to a single point in an art career. Moderated by NAVA Executive Director, Esther Anatolitis, this panel will question how artists define themselves as fitting within these descriptions?

John Fries Finalists Artist Talk

Friday, 2 November, 11:00am UNSW Galleries
Join artists from the John Fries Award 2018 as they talk about their works and what it means to be selected for significant art prizes.

UNSW Galleries, the Award's presenting partner for the fifth year, hosts the 2018 Finalists' Exhibition at UNSW Art & Design's campus in Paddington. Free-of-charge and open to the public, the exhibition is open now and closes Saturday, 3 November 2018.

For more information on the Exhibition and artists visit:

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