The winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women was announced last month. The winner of the 2020 award is Emma Talbot. Talbot works in drawing, painting, installation and sculpture to explore the inner landscape of personal thought, emotion and narrative.
The Max Mara prize is the only visual art prize of its kind in the UK. It is awarded in alternate years, and supports UK-based female artists who have not previously had a major solo exhibition. As the winner Talbot will spend six months in Italy on a bespoke residency, creating a new body of work to be shown at the Whitechapel Gallery and then at the Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Emma Talbot was chosen from a shortlist including Allison Katz, Katie Schwab, Tai Shani, and Hanna Tuulikki, by a panel of art-world experts comprising gallerist Florence Ingleby, artist Chantal Joffe, collector Fatima Maleki and art critic Hettie Judah, chaired by Blazwick.
Talbot’s winning proposal for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women questions deeply rooted positions of power, governance, attitudes to nature and representations of women, through an acutely personal lens.
It takes as a starting point Gustav Klimt’s painting Three Ages of Woman (1905), which features a naked elderly woman standing in apparent shame. The painting is housed at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome and Talbot will have the opportunity to see it first-hand during her residency in Italy. In her work for the Prize, Talbot intends to animate the figure of the older woman as someone with agency, who overcomes a series of trials similar to The Twelve Labors of Hercules. Through her modern-day trials, Talbot will invest the woman with the potential to reconstruct contemporary society, countering prevalent negative attitudes to ageing.