$60,000 Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture | 2017 winner announced

The coveted 'Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture' is one of Australia's most valuable arts prizes, with more than $126,000 in cash and 
prizes. It focuses on the urban environment and the importance of sculpture, in all its forms, to inform public spaces and enrich public life. It is unique in that it enables entrants to submit either a completed artwork, or a proposal for an artwork.

The $60,000 ‘Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017’ has been awarded to Melbourne-based sculptor Daniel von Sturmer for his work Electric Light (facts/figures/Federation Square) (2017) – a light-based installation made in direct response to the architecture and landscaping of Federation Square and visible nightly from 8.30pm.

Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017 Winner: Daniel von Sturmer, Electric Light (facts/figures/Federation Square), 2017, customised moving head profile light, custom programming

Electric Light uses light as a material to activate unnoticed features of the built environment that inform and direct our experience. Simple geometric figures are animated across the site, aligning themselves with hidden architectural structures, civic utilities and landscaped plantings. Usually unnoticed in the field of activity the square is known for, these forms suggest another mode of engagement with the city space, a mode of attending to what is there and why. Drawing attention to these ever present yet unremarkable elements of city life, the work renders the space as a stage and these humble characters the protagonists in an unfolding narrative. Humour, surprise, curiosity and interaction are key components of the work, instilling a sense of engagement and play with the passers-by-come-audience.

The entered work of all six finalists in this year’s ‘Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture’ – Sarah crowEST, Laresa Kosloff, Bridie Lunney, Sibling Architecture, Daniel von Sturmer and Susan Jacobs – are on display at Federation Square between 13 to 27 November.

The judging panel praised this year’s finalists;

‘The finalists work in the ‘Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017′ deliver a rich consideration of public sculpture and embrace the public domain at a range of levels. Not only are the works accomplished, engaging and site responsive, they are resourceful and resonate with spatial, sensory, poetic and performative characteristics. The accomplishment of each of the works is exceptional making the decision one of the most difficult in the history of the Prize. The judges would like to congratulate each of the artists for their outstanding achievements, which, together, produce a significant exhibition which expands our experience and understanding of sculpture in the public realm.’

Professional Development Award 2017 Winner: Bridie Lunney, Fold, 2017

Other award recipients include Emma Anna, winner of the new $10,000 ‘Public Artwork Design Concept Award 2017 ­ Crafting a City of Literature’ for her design concept The Elocwean Rainbow (2017), which draws inspiration from Melbourne’s history, and in line with the award, celebrates Melbourne’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Finalists include Emma Anna, Catherine Clover, Sue Buchanan & Eli Giannini, Matthew Harding and Louise Lavarack.

Bridie Lunney was the recipient of ‘Professional Development Award 2017’ for her work Fold (2017). The award consisted of $10,000 cash supported by the Melbourne Prize Trust, a $2,500 Qantas voucher credit and a professional practice residency at the Norma Redpath Studio in Carlton. Muckleford-based sculptor, Fayen d’ Evie was the recipient of the $40,000 ‘Rural & Regional Development Award 2017’.

A $4,000 Civic Choice Award 2017, supported by the Melbourne Prize Trust, will be awarded to one finalist across all award categories with the most public votes for their featured work. The public can cast their votes online at www.melbourneprize.org