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Daniel Crooks awarded the $100,000 Ian Potter Moving Image Commission
Daniel Crooks, A Garden of Parallel Paths, 2012. Image courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

MELBOURNE.- Following the first critically acclaimed Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC), the second $100,000 commission in the ten-year program for new works by mid-career Australian artists has been awarded to celebrated Melbourne-based video artist, Daniel Crooks.

Crooks has been awarded the prize from a field of impressive candidates vying for the prestigious visual art commission – an initiative of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust (IPCT) and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

In announcing Crooks as the winning recipient, head of the IPMIC Judging Panel, ACMI Director & CEO, Tony Sweeney, praised the exceptional standard and creativity of the 2014 submissions, which he said was a compelling reflection of the diversity and strength of Australian moving image culture.

“The commissioning and exhibition of these new works both challenges and strengthens artistic practice, and allow us to support and celebrate remarkable Australian artists and their work in a global creative context,” Mr Sweeney said. “Competition for the commission was fierce and Crooks’ concept represents a fascinating extension of his interest in discontinuous spaces, vanishing points and a sense of the endless cinema dolly track seeking to replicate a kind of alternative reality: opening doors between worlds.”

Crooks has exhibited his work throughout Australia and internationally since 1998. His early video works were collages of thin slices of moving image, progressing through time and refracting temporal geometry. This methodology of stretching and compressing time, creating the impression of delving through, as well as across time, has provided a framework and a line of enquiry for Crooks’ work since. Possessing both digital and organic aesthetic qualities, Crooks’ work reveals rhythm and movement within still images.

Crooks said he felt thrilled and honoured to learn that he was the winning recipient. “I’m really excited and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to develop a project of this scale and ambition. It’s hard to overstate the impact the commission will have, both on this project and on my wider practice.”

According to Lady Potter AC, Trustee of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, the decision to award the second Commission to Crooks represents an exciting progression for the series after a haunting and beautiful inaugural work by Angelica Mesiti.

“We are delighted that Daniel is the winning candidate as we have been keeping an eye on his work since he was awarded a grant from The Ian Potter Cultural Trust to undertake a visual arts residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2004. He is very clever, and his new work promises to take his career to the next level.”

Crooks has had a long-standing interest in the way in which trains have been featured in, and employed as an extension of the camera, for the purposes of experimentation with the moving image throughout its century-plus history. For the Ian Potter Moving Image Commission, Crooks will be exploring phantom rides, a genre of film popular in Britain and the United States in the early 1900s. Pre-dating narrative features, these short films simply showed the progress of a vehicle, usually a train, moving forward by mounting a camera on its front.

“Taking as his starting point films such as the Lumiere Brother’s Leaving Jerusalem By Railway (1896), regarded today as the first ever tracking shot, Crooks’ new work will explore the various tracks in our contemporary environment to give audiences a seamless experience of travelling simultaneously backwards and forwards through the plane of the screen,” Mr Sweeney said.

The Commission will allow Crooks to collaborate with specialists in the development of a high-end motion control system particular to his method of capturing and manipulating imagery. It will also provide an opportunity to further explore and mine this fascinating intersection of science and film history over a one year period before the exhibition of the final artwork is presented in ACMI’s Gallery 2 in 2016.

An edition of Crooks’ new work will enter the ACMI Collection and sit alongside works by renowned Australian and international artists including the inaugural Commission recipient, Angelica Mesiti, along with works by Anthony McCall, Bill Viola, Candice Breitz, Ian Burns and Warwick Thornton.

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