On Monday 3 June, the President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Christopher Le Brun, announced that the prestigious £25,000 Charles Wollaston Award has been won by El Anatsui for his work, TSIATSIA – searching for connection, 2013, a site based, courtyard installation for the Royal Academy’s 245th Summer Exhibition. Presented to the ‘most distinguished work’ in the exhibition, the Wollaston Award is one of the most significant art prizes awarded in the country.
El Anatsui said, “Receiving the Charles Wollaston Award for the most distinguished work in the Royal Academy of Arts, 2013 Summer Exhibition, is an unexpected honour. When I created TSIATSIA - searching for connection, it was in my view a metaphor reflecting an alternative response to examine connecting possibilities and extend the boundaries in art. In a sense, this award acknowledges TSIATSIA as representing a connecting link in the evolving narrative of memory and identity.
"I am grateful that this celebrated exhibition, now in its 245th year, continues to provide a significant forum of communication to stimulate the relationship between artist and audience, with awards such as The Charles Wollaston serving as arbiter.”
The judges for this year’s award were the artists Richard Wilson RA and Louise Wilson and the art critic and artist Matthew Collings, who were all unanimous in their choice.
Matthew Collings said, “As judges we were all overwhelmed by El Anatsui's work, which we considered a miracle of transformation. Made of old junk nevertheless it reminded us in its glittering organic opulence of golden mosaics from the Byzantine era. We were also struck by the care the artist took in the work's placement, so that the Academy's ordered classical shapes become so many signs, precisely dramatising notions of old and new. Although this kind of attention to the social relations of art is not unfamiliar nowadays, it is a great surprise to have it combined with such a joyful and spontaneous sense of beauty.”
The shortlist for the 2013 Wollaston Award included:
Humphrey Ocean RA, Lemon Static
Richard Long RA, Cornwall Spiral
Phyllida Barlow RA, Untitled: Broken
Jonathan Houser, Study for a Building adjusted to Multiple Places and Scales, cat. no. 928
Michael Craig-Martin RA, Portrait, Untitled (Gillian), cat. no. 943
Each year the Royal Academy awards a number of prizes for outstanding works within the Summer Exhibition. These were also announced on Monday 3 June.
Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture
£10,000 for a sculpture.
Katherine Gili, Ripoll
Architects’ Journal Award for Architecture
£10,000 for the most outstanding work of architecture.
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Concept Models for the Festival Wing, Southbank Centre (model by Ken Grix)
Lend Lease Award
£5,000 for a first time exhibitor of a work of architecture.
Heatherwick Studio, Teesside Power Station and Masdar Mosque
The Sunny Dupree Family Award for Female Artist
£3,500 for a painting or sculpture.
Celia Paul, Annela
Sheppard Robson Student Prize for Architecture
Two prizes of £2,500 each for a student entry.
Nichelle Channer, See Level, Dropwort Research Centre
Changyeob Lee, Synth[e]tech[e]cology
Arts Club Charitable Trust Award
£2000 for a work in any medium (excluding architecture).
Marilene Oliver, Dreamcatcher
British Institution Awards
Three prizes of £1,000 each are awarded by the Trustees of the British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the UK. Students entering paintings, works on paper, sculpture and architecture will be eligible for the awards.
Alberto Torres Hernandez, Bitte Geh Nicht Fort
Signe Emma, Airline Food (a Scanning Electron Micrograph of Disolved Salt Representing the 30% Extra Salt Needed for Food to Taste the Same Up In the Air as it Does On Ground)
Shinwook Kim, Matley Wood
London Original Print Fair Prize
Two prizes of £1,000 each for a print in any medium.
Peter Ford, Field Games
John Mackechnie, Traigh
The Rose Award for Photography
£1,000 for a photograph or series of photographs.
Mitra Tabrizian, The Long Wait (From the Series Border, 2005-2006)
Hugh Casson Drawing Prize
Two prizes of £750 for an original work on paper in any medium, where the emphasis is clearly on drawing.
Donald Zec, My Grandfather, the Pious Patriarch
Jeanette Barnes, Completed Shard, London Bridge Quarter
Arts Club Special Prize Award
£500 and the purchase of 5 editions.
Sarah Garvey, Once Upon a Time