The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is delighted to announce Haroon Mirza as the winner of the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 2012. The Prize offers a unique opportunity for a British artist to gain exposure to Japan’s visual arts sector. Mirza has been invited to hold a solo exhibition at SCAI THE BATHHOUSE in Tokyo in January/February 2013. In addition, he received a £5,000 participation fee plus travel and accommodation costs for a period in Japan to coincide with the opening of the exhibition.
Mirza was awarded the Northern Art Prize in 2010 and held a solo exhibition at London’s prestigious Lisson Gallery in 2011. His work attempts to isolate the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music and explore the possibility of the visual and acoustic as one singular aesthetic form. These ideas are examined through lo-fi yet complex assemblages and installations that employ furniture, household electronics, video and existing artworks to formulate temporally based audio compositions. (Haroon Mirza’s website.)
The Prize was presented at a private awards ceremony by the distinguished panel of judges: Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Masami Shiraishi, President, SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, Tokyo; Martin Gayford, art critic and author; and Grayson Perry, artist and 2003 Turner Prize winner.
Jason James, Director General of The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation comments: ‘We hope that, in awarding the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize, we will not only open new doors for British artists in Japan but create valuable partnerships and opportunities for the future.’
This, the second Daiwa Foundation Art Prize, saw over 700 artists submit work for consideration. The inaugural winner, Marcus Coates, was awarded the Prize of a solo exhibition at the Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo. An exhibition of work by the three shortlisted artists, Tom Hammick, Haroon Mirza and Jennifer E. Price was on display at Daiwa Foundation Japan House from 8 June to 19 July 2012. (Exhibition information.)
Art and Music and Haroon Mirza
“I was brought up Muslim … In certain regimes [in Islam] music is sort of frowned upon and related to things like infidelity and other terrible things if you listen to or engage with music”
By Haroon Mirza
Haroon Mirza’s commitment to sound, to music in particular, is an intelligent challenge not only to the dogma of organized religion, but also to the institution of art. In Mirza’s work, music counteracts the religious tendencies in art, challenging the faith required to persist with the notion that art is somehow transcendent and distinct from everyday life.
Our ears, unlike our eyes, do not have lids. Waves of sound break through. Music is irresistible, undeniable, leaking in to affect us, insinuating, and pervasive. As a constant factor in the aesthetic equations devised by Haroon Mirza, music subtly contradicts the notion of a self-contained work of art, beautiful and true in itself. Our response to music stems from association, from the countless ideas and emotions we bring to our encounter with it, which can also be said of visual art.
Found objects, readymade and often ready-used, likewise occur in Mirza’s work as signs of free thinking, a philosophical scepticism that is, frankly, one of the only redeeming features of art. He knows, as we know, that the final artistic destinations of found objects were never envisaged by their makers, and so it becomes clear that this business of art is a question both of (our imaginative) projection and co-option. This applies as much to found objects that are works of art in their own right, and sounds that are music. All is revealed as being wonderfully unfixed.
Haroon Mirza was brought up Muslim. We were all brought up within some kind of prescriptive structure – be it ideological, religious and/or political – which insists that certain thoughts, tastes and behaviours are simply not acceptable. Art can be like that too, negative and dull. Haroon Mirza’s work, on the other hand, is life-affirming and positive.
Jonathan Watkins, Director Ikon Gallery
Haroon Mirza studied MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design (2007). He was awarded the Northern Art Prize in 2010, and in 2011 has had a solo exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London and participated in group exhibitions including Illuminations at the 54th Venice Biennale, Sum Parts at ACME Project Space, London and The British Art Show 7 at The Hayward Gallery, London. In his work, Mirza attempts to isolate the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music and explore the possibility of the visual and acoustic as one singular aesthetic form. These ideas are examined through lo-fi yet complex assemblages and installations that employ furniture, household electronics, video and existing artworks to formulate temporally based audio compositions. (Artist’s website.)
Jennifer E. Price
Jennifer E. Price studied Printmaking at the University for the Creative Arts (2009) and has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, most recently at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, as part of International Print Biennale’s 2011 Print Awards. She lives and works in Kent. In her artwork Price harnesses basic and traditional printmaking methods, and then stands them on their head, resulting in cross boundaries of printmaking, drawing, sculpture, site-based installation, and public intervention. The work addresses complex layers of material culture and the role of the visual artist in a complicated age of media. (Artist’s website.)
Tom Hammick studied MA Printmaking at Camberwell College of Art (1990). He has exhibited internationally in group and solo exhibitions including recent solo shows at Flowers Gallery, London, The Eagle Gallery, London, and Gallery Page and Strange, Canada (all 2011). He is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Painting and Print at the University of Brighton. He lives in East Sussex. Although Hammick’s work references the real world, it is largely concerned with a sense of metaphorical journeying. His paintings and prints are often developed from observed drawings, but during the process of making the work these sources undergo significant transformations. (Artist’s website.)