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Two Canadians Shortlisted for UK’s Max Mara Art Prize

Two Canadians—Corin Sworn and Melanie Gilligan—have been shortlisted for the Max Mara Art Prize, the only visual art prize for women in the United Kingdom.

The winner of the prize receives a six-month Italian residency, followed by major solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and Collezione Maramotti near Milan. Past winners of the prize include Laure Prouvost (2011–2013), Andrea Büttner (2009–2011) and Hannah Rickards (2007–2009).

Corin Sworn, who is currently showing at Scotland’s official Venice Biennale exhibition, was born in the UK in 1976 and grew up in Toronto. She trained at the University of British Columbia and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver before heading back to the UK to do her master’s at the Glasgow School of Art. Known for films and installations that explore the way objects can shift histories and stories, she is currently based in Glasgow.

Melanie Gilligan was born in Toronto in 1979, and she is currently based in London and New York. Her film series Crisis in the Credit System (2008) and Popular Unrest (2010), both available for viewing online, explore cultural, political and economic shifts that shape our lives. Popular Unrest, for instance, was a sci-fi drama about a future in which capital and big data converge. Her newest work The Common Sense (2013) was created with the support of Toronto’s Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and was shot on the University of Toronto campus and environs in February 2013. It explores ideas of the collective invented by new technology.

The other artists shortlisted for the prize are Beatrice Gibson, Judith Goddard and Philomene Pirecki. The judging panel was chaired by Whitechapel director Iwona Blazwick and included dealer Pilar Corrias, Outset Contemporary Art Fund director Candida Gertler, artist Runa Islam and Henry Moore Institute curator Lisa Le Feuvre.

Following a presentation from each of the shortlisted artists on their proposal for the residency, the winner will be announced in early 2014.

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