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Black Tie International:
Max Mara Art Prize for Women


Andrea Büttner

Max Mara Art Prize

for Women:

Andrea Büttner: The Poverty
of Riches



(April 1-10, 2011) - London, England. Whitechapel
Gallery 1
.The Whitechapel Gallery presents the work of Andrea Büttner, the winner of the third Max Mara Art
Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery.

Andrea Büttner is fascinated by the life of religious communities.  Her work explores the crossover between religion and art, and the similarities between religious communities and the art world. During her Italian
residency after winning the Max Mara Art Prize for
Women, Büttner spent time living alongside orders of
nuns. She previously observed Carmelite nuns in London, giving them a camera with which they filmed themselves making works such as crochet baskets and small
religious figures. 

The Whitechapel Gallery exhibition showcases new works of art made after winning the Prize, inspired by her encounters with monastic groups, Giotto’s frescoes, and works from the Maramotti Collection of early Arte Povera artists including Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni.

Andrea Büttner transforms the Gallery into a contemplative space.  She uses the traditional technique of woodcuts to depict religious iconography such as a loaf of bread, a table and St. Francis.  Alongside this traditional imagery, everyday textiles from the uniforms of park wardens, policemen and refuse collectors create colourful ‘paintings’ when stretched like canvases.  These paintings form part of her exploration of the symbolic use of fabric in Italian religious art.

Simple benches offer a place to sit and reflect, drawing parallels between the spaces of a church and a gallery.  Also on display are posters, cloth and leaflets,  all inspired by Andrea Büttner’s time spent in monasteries, convents and retreats.

The Max Mara Art Prize for Women promotes and nurtures female artists based in the UK, enabling artists to develop their potential by producing new works of art during a 6-month residency in Italy.  The judges included Iwona Blazwick (Chair), artist Fiona Banner; gallerist Alison Jacques; art collector Valeria Napoleone; and curator Polly Staple. 

Luigi Maramotti, Chairman of Max Mara said, ‘The Max Mara Art Prize champions and supports female artists and it gives me great pleasure to be able to give the winner the rare and precious commodities of time and  freedom to create new works of art.  We are delighted the exceptionally talented Andrea Büttner won the Prize and that she has been so inspired by the Italian art she encountered on her residency.’

Iwona Blazwick OBE, Director, Whitechapel Gallery said, ‘The Whitechapel Gallery has a long tradition of premiering female artists and so we are pleased to show the work of Andrea Büttner at the Whitechapel Gallery.  It was her fascinating practice, which draws parallels between the rituals of religious belief and of making art that won the judges over.  It is absolutely of the moment; the range of media she uses references art from German Expressionist woodcuts to photography.  

She is a beacon for the sheer calibre of art being made by women in Britain today.’

Joyce Brooks

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