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Inaugural Anne Landa Exhibition and Award
Van Sowerwine Play with me (detail) 2002. Still image from interactive installation. Courtesy of the artist.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.- Six young and innovative artists have been selected for the inaugural Anne Landa Exhibition and Award - the first award exhibition in Australia for moving image and new media work. Jane Campion will open the exhibition at 6.30pm on Wednesday 1 December 2004. The award has been established in honour of Anne Landa, a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales who died in 2002. This is the first in a biennial series of exhibitions, each with an acquisitive award of $25,000.

Initiated by Anne Landa's daughter, Sophie, and Edmund Capon, Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the award acknowledges her exceptional support of the visual arts in Australia. "Anne was a woman of great passion, energy and courage. This award honours a truly remarkable Australian who was a great supporter of the arts in this country," said Edmund Capon.

A panel comprising Juliana Engberg, Director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Edmund Capon and Wayne Tunnicliffe, Curator of Contemporary Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, selected the six artists whose work is represented in this exhibition. "We chose some of Australia's most innovative younger artists working with moving images for this first exhibition. The exhibition includes videos, DVDs, animations, and digital media. While the art ranges from the low-tech to the high-tech in approach, all of it reflects on the vital role of screen culture in shaping our lives."

Van Sowerwine's engaging animated girl invites us to play with her at a tea-party. As you interact with her screen image she responds to your suggestions, but playtime unfortunately becomes sinister as each decision you make on the doll's behalf has consequences. David Rosetzky's confessional videos consider how we represent our lives to ourselves and how our experience of self is affected by relationships with others. In Untouchable we look into three rooms whose inhabitants speak about an emotionally charged experience that is preoccupying them.

A subtle politics infuses Peter Hennessey's digital animation of the Voyager space probe and soundtrack of messages recorded for anyone in outer space who may encounter the voyager, greetings from earth to aliens. Guy Benfield constructs room environments and in a mock-ironic reprise of 70s performance art, he pours, splashes and rolls around in paint to make visceral, humourous, sexually charged art works recorded on video and played back in the final gallery installation.

Craig Walsh's projections of surprising images onto the Gallery's architecture confuse what the mind knows and what the eyes sees. A poetic beauty haunts Shaun Gladwell's low-fi videos of skateboarders, bike riders and break dancers as they take ownership of urban spaces, even momentarily, suggesting alternate ways in which we can we can live in a highly regulated physical environment.

"The exciting thing about the Anne Landa Award is that it will bring new faces, new work and new possibility into the Art Gallery of New South Wales. I can't think of a more true and fitting tribute to my mother. She was such a vibrant and passionate supporter of the arts and just loved encouraging new ideas. I know that she would think this award was pretty fabulous," said Sophie Landa.

The inaugural Anne Landa Award will be presented on Tuesday 18 January 2005 at 11am at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.



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