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News / January 23, 2014

Corin Sworn Wins Max Mara Art Prize for Women

Glasgow-based Canadian artist Corin Sworn, winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Photo: Alan Dimmick. Glasgow-based Canadian artist Corin Sworn, winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Photo: Alan Dimmick.

Today at the Italian Embassy in London, Glasgow-based Canadian artist Corin Sworn was named the fifth winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Sworn succeeded in a finalist roster that included fellow Canadian Melanie Gilligan as well as Beatrice Gibson, Judith Goddard and Philomene Pirecki.

As winner, Sworn receives a six-month Italian residency, followed by major solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and Collezione Maramotti near Milan.

Sworn 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 was one of three artists who exhibited in Scotland’s official entry at the Venice Biennale last year.

Sworn’s winning proposal for the Max Mara Prize involves the history and costumes of the Commedia dell’Arte. For three months in Rome, she will research the relationship between the Commedia dell’Arte and Italian cinema. In Naples after that, she will be based at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina and continue related research. The residency will end in the libraries and archives of Venice.

In a release, Sworn said, “It means such a great deal to me to be able to work with the Collection Maramotti and the Whitechapel Gallery on a new commission. The promise of six months in Italy has inspired a host of ideas for new work and I look forward to being able to develop these over the course of my time in Italy.”

Past winners of the prize include include Laure Prouvost (2011–2013), Andrea Büttner (2009–2011) and Hannah Rickards (2007–2009). 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.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via