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Rolls-Royce announces Sondra Perry as winner of inaugural Dream Commission
Sondra Perry, Lineage for a Phantom Zone, 2020, Courtesy the artist and Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme.

CHICHESTER.- Sondra Perry, an American moving-image artist, has been awarded the inaugural Dream Commission, by Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme.

The Dream Commission is a biennial project, awarded to inspire greatness and foster creativity in the medium of moving-image art, inviting artists to investigate the idea of ‘dreams and dreaming’. Sondra Perry was unanimously selected as winner by an international Jury of leading art world individuals from a shortlist of four artists. As winner of the Dream Commission, Sondra Perry will create a new moving-image artwork which investigates the narrative of ‘dreams’. The new artwork will be unveiled at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland in early 2022 and exhibited at Serpentine, London in 2022. New Jersey-based interdisciplinary artist Sondra Perry works across the media of artificial intelligence, animation, performance, and video, amongst others, and her work explores themes of race, identity and technology.

In January 2021, the Jury met to determine the winner and selected Sondra Perry from a shortlist of four artists including also: Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico); Martine Syms (USA); and Zhou Tao (China). The Jury comprises: Isaac Julien CBE RA, an internationally-acclaimed artist; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine in London; Katrina Sedgwick, Museum Director of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne; Terrie Sultan, former Museum Director of the Parrish Art Museum in New York; and Theodora Vischer, Chief Curator at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel.

Each of the shortlisted artists were tasked with creating a short-form moving-image artwork exploring the notion of ‘dreams’, which delivered a concept for a new long-form artwork. These works were presented to the Jury for consideration, and it was on this basis that Sondra Perry was selected as the winner of the Dream Commission. Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, will support Perry in the process of bringing her new artwork to life.

Perry’s proposed artwork builds upon the themes of lineage, memory and longing, as explored in her short-form artwork, Lineage for a Phantom Zone. The work will utilise LED panels, installed above, below and around the viewer, to create a ‘dreamscape’ in which the body and consciousness will float. Perry will explore the idea of dreams as a space for reconfiguring history, taking inspiration from an old photograph of her grandmother in the ruins of the house where she grew up. Perry’s experience of isolation from family and friends, caused by the global pandemic, will lead her to explore cravings for touch and intimacy in the digital world.

Jury statement: “Sondra Perry was selected as the winner of the Dream Commission based on her outstanding artwork proposal as well as the brilliant way in which she addresses the current moment of vulnerability in her work. The artist’s ability to delve deeply into personal experiences and present them within a socio/political/aesthetic context is moving, challenging, and exciting.

Perry’s proposal epitomised the true core value of the Dream Commission which provides an artist with a rare opportunity: funding to enable new collaborations and access to new tools for experimentation, extending the artist’s practice. Perry’s new work for the Dream Commission will take her already-powerful practice into a new realm, imaginatively harnessing digital technology and platforms to craft a potent story, full of innovative, experiential, potential.

The evident level of creativity amongst the shortlisted artists was astonishing and made the final decision-making process challenging. The short-form works created by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Martine Syms, and Zhou Tao are exceptional productions in themselves, each offering a meditation on the subject of dreams. All four of the works provided a different artistic vantage point and employed varying moving-image technologies. The Jury looks forward to following the evolution of the careers of these exceptional artists and their works”.

During the current global pandemic, Rolls-Royce has continued supporting the arts; indeed, it recognises that this is a time when the role of artists and the commissioning of new artwork is more vital than ever.

Rolls-Royce’s ambition for the Dream Commission is to establish the marque as the leading platform for advancing the medium of moving image art today. Celebrating the latest innovations in the field, Dream Commission works can be from any medium in moving image, including experimental film, video, animation, and immersive and participatory installations. Content may be presented in a wide variety of formats, such as augmented and virtual reality. The 2021 Dream Commission is brought to life in partnership with the Serpentine, London and the Fondation Beyeler, Basel.

As the two-year process concludes, this year, the cycle will begin again, yielding a group of landmark works of moving-image art.

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