Daniel von Sturmer wins Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017

Melbourne Prize Daniel von Sturmer AARMelbourne-based sculptor Daniel von Sturmer has been announced the recipient of the coveted Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017 for his work Electric Light (facts/figures/Federation Square).

Programmed to activate the site after dark Electric Light (facts/figures/federation square) is a light-based installation work, made in direct response to the architecture and landscaping of Federation Square. The work uses light as a material to activate unnoticed features of the built environment that inform and direct our experience.

Simple geometric figures are animated across the site, aligning themselves with hidden architectural structures, civic utilities and landscaped plantings. Usually unnoticed in the field of activity the square is known for, these forms suggest another mode of engagement with the city space, a mode of attending to what is there and why.

Drawing attention to these ever present yet unremarkable elements of city life, the work renders the space as a stage and these humble characters the protagonists in an unfolding narrative. Humour, surprise, curiosity and interaction are key components of the work, instilling a sense of engagement and play with the passers-by-come-audience.

The Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017 focuses on the urban environment and the importance of sculpture, in all its forms, to inform public spaces and enrich public life.

In 2017, six finalists – Sarah crowEST, Laresa Kosloff, Bridie Lunney, Sibling Architecture, Daniel von Sturmer, and Susan Jacobs were in the running for the $60,000 prize – with von Sturmer being announced the recipient at a Gale Ceremony at Federation Square on Wednesday evening. All six finalists were awarded an artist fee of $4,000.

“The finalists work in the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017 deliver a rich consideration of public sculpture and embrace the public domain at a range of levels,” said the Judges in a statement. “Not only are the works accomplished, engaging and site responsive, they are resourceful and resonate with spatial, sensory, poetic and performative characteristics.”

“The accomplishment of each of the works is exceptional making the decision one of the most difficult in the history of the Prize. The judges would like to congratulate each of the artists for their outstanding achievements, which, together, produce a significant exhibition which expands our experience and understanding of sculpture in the public realm.”

The judging panel this year consisted of a highly-esteemed group including: Max Delany, Artistic Director & CEO, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Professor Callum Morton, Artist & Head of Fine Art, Monash University Art Design & Architecture, Professor Marie Sierra, Artist & Deputy Dean & Head of School UNSW Australia, Art & Design, Simone Slee, Artist & Head of Sculpture & Spatial Practice, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne; and Pip Wallis – Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria.

In addition to the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017, the winner of the new $10,000 Public Artwork Design Concept Award 2017 – Crafting a City of Literature and the Professional Development Award 2017 have also been announced.

Emma Anna was announced as the recipient of the new $10,000 Public Artwork Design Concept Award 2017 – Crafting a City of Literature for her design concept The Elocwean Rainbow, 2017 which draws inspiration from Melbourne’s history, and in line with the award, celebrates Melbourne’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Bridie Lunney was announced the recipient of Professional Development Award 2017 for her work Fold, 2017. The Award consisted of $10,000 cash supported by the Melbourne Prize Trust, a $2,500 Qantas voucher credit and a professional practice residency at the Norma Redpath Studio in Carlton.

“Our urban sculptures commemorate and cajole, and connect with people of all ages and walks of life,” said Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley. “They transform our public spaces, and inspire, even create, debate. This year’s Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture celebrates the role sculpture plays in public life, and honours artists whose creativity and vision are reimagining the urban environment.”

Launched in 2004, the Melbourne Prize Trust was established to recognise and reward talent, excellence and inspire creative development. The origins of the Melbourne Prize Trust date back to The Magic Pudding sculpture commission, as part of a children’s garden concept, at the Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne.

Since inception, the annual Melbourne Prize has made available more than $1,200,000 in prizes and award, artist residencies, equipment grants and an annual public exhibition at Federation Square to Victorian writers, sculptors and musicians.

An exhibition of the finalists is now on display at Melbourne’s Federation Square until 27 November 2017. For more information, visit: www.melbourneprize.org for details.

Image: Recipient of the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017 – Daniel von Sturmer