A partnership of Spanish artists Virginia Samper and Blanca Ulloa, has been announced today as the winner of the Aspen Online Art Award 2015. Launched last year by Aspen Insurance in association with the Contemporary Art Society, it is the UK’s first online art award.
The judges, who included Attilia Fattori Franchini, Curator, and Ben Vickers, Curator of Digital at Serpentine Galleries, selected Samper and Ulloa from a shortlist of eight artists to win a commissioning prize of £5,000 and the opportunity to create a new work for Aspen’s renowned art collection.
The winning proposal will see a group of anonymous on-screen individuals investigating the Aspen website by moving around it in a non-linear narrative. The performers’ movements will represent the actions we repeatedly use when we go to visit both online and physical sites: searching, investigating and linking in an automatic and unconscious way. Users will also be able to interact with the work by dragging and moving the dancers around and by transporting the figures to other websites. The new commission will be developed over the summer months and launched on the Aspen website later this year.
Attilia Fattori Franchini said: “Samper and Ulloa’s collaborative practice and proposal stand out as innovative and playful, joining elements of dance and performance to the architecture of the Aspen’s website while opening up new ways of engaging with an online collection and the experience of navigating through it. By permanently adding this work to the online platform, Aspen expands the possibility of online fruition while inspiring innovative modes for supporting, displaying and distributing art.”
Ben Vickers said: “I am delighted to have been involved in awarding Samper and Ulloa this year’s prize. Their work, attitude and approach went above and beyond all other applications and presentations we reviewed – it has a vitality and sensitivity to context that is rarely seen in younger artists. Together they bring an energetic and thoughtful dynamism that I am compelled to follow long into the future.”
Helen Nisbet, Art Consultant at the Contemporary Art Society, said: “We are all very impressed by the way this year’s shortlist responded to the brief, engaging with Aspen’s collection while thinking about the web as a platform to experiment and create. Their responses were dynamic, playful and experimental – exactly the intention of the prize.”
Aspen’s involvement with the prize and with online art, a rapidly emerging field within contemporary art, represents Aspen’s commitment to cutting-edge creative practice. The award also reflects the Contemporary Art Society’s mission to identify and support emerging artists in the UK and to provide a platform to showcase important new work for the benefit of audiences across the country.
For more information on the award, and to view the work of last year’s winner Yi Chun Lin, visit www.aspenart.co/award
Virginia Samper and Blanca Ulloa were born in Madrid in 1991 and have been working together as long as they have known each other, combining their respective visions and interests in dance and music to develop them into digital media projects.
They both studied their BA (Hons) in Fine Arts in UCM Madrid and they are now currently studying collaboratively an MA Visual Arts: Fine Art Digital at Camberwell College.
In their work, they propose a review of symbolism and myths, of sacred and profane practices that intertwine in our in contemporary society defined by an increasing individuality and dominated by mass digital culture.
The shortlisted artists for 2015 included: Virginia Samper and Blanca Ulloa (Camberwell College of Art), Jack Addis (Camberwell College of Art), Matthias Moos (Goldsmiths), Nelmarie du Preez (Goldsmiths), Steph Horak (Goldsmiths), May Heek (Slade School of Fine Art) and Richard Müller (Slade School of Fine Art).