About the Exhibition
The exhibition of the shortlisted works at the National Gallery of Australia is undoubtedly the most significant way in which the National Sculpture Prize aims to support and promote sculpture.
Although we are currently witnessing a period of unprecedented activity and renewed interest in sculpture in Australia, there are relatively few opportunities for sculptors to exhibit their work to a wide audience. In the past, the Mildura Sculpture Triennials and the Australian Sculpture Triennials (held in Melbourne) were the most important exhibitions of sculpture in this country. However, since the final Australian Sculpture Triennial in 1995, there have been no major, regular exhibitions encompassing all areas of sculptural practice. Recent exhibitions and awards are mainly in the area of outdoor sculpture. As a consequence of this relative lack of exhibitions, sculpture is less widely known and appreciated in Australia than other art forms. The exhibition of finalists' works at the National Gallery provides a significant opportunity for sculptors to show their most recent works, and for the public to view an exciting selection of contemporary sculpture.
This catalogue and the associated public programs which will be conducted by the National Gallery throughout the exhibition are also an important way of increasing understanding and awareness of sculpture in the wider community. It is the intention of the catalogue to reflect, through the artists' own words, the diversity of approaches and contexts in which the works in the Prize have been made. The artists provided statements, participated in taped interviews, or responded in writing to questions about their work.
As almost half of the entries selected for the Prize were proposals for new works, several of these had not been completed and photographed by the time of going to press. In these instances, in consultation with the artists, working drawings, maquettes, works in progress or related works have been used to illustrate the catalogue. Although we have attempted to include images of the finished works wherever possible, these other images vividly convey the range of processes through which the works in this Prize have been realised.
The most outstanding feature of the exhibition of the works selected for the inaugural National Sculpture Prize is their diversity: diversity of medium, of process, of concept, and of imagery. What unites them is that they are all outstanding examples of contemporary Australian sculpture.
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