Forma and Frieze have named Alberta Whittle as the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award 2020. The award, co-commissioned and co-produced by Forma and Frieze, presents a major opportunity for an emerging international artist to debut an ambitious new film during Frieze London 2020 and expand the commission into a touring multidisciplinary project with Forma. This year Forma and Frieze will introduce an innovative hybrid of online and offline activity, reaching audiences worldwide via the digital reach of Frieze Viewing Room, as well as a screening programme at Forma HQ, Forma’s new public facing venue in South London.
The 2020 edition of the Frieze Artist Award was selected by a jury composed of leading industry figures, including Chris Rawcliffe (Artistic Director, Forma), Eva Langret (Artistic Director, Frieze London), Himali Singh Soin (Artist and winner of the Frieze Artist Award 2019), Victor Wang (王宗孚) (Artistic Director and Chief Curator, M WOODS Museum) and Zoé Whitley (Director, Chisenhale Gallery).
Whittle’s winning proposal was selected from a shortlist of nominated artists including Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Jamie Crewe, Adham Faramawy, Arash Fayez, Onyeka Igwe, Helene Kazan and Sadé Mica.
Chris Rawcliffe, Artistic Director, Forma said: ‘I’m incredibly proud to continue the collaboration between Frieze and Forma on the 2020 Frieze Artist Award. This year’s selected artist, Alberta Whittle, has shown incredible generosity in her creative process, inviting multiple collaborators to work on her commission. In her films, Whittle balances urgent political and social issues with poetic narratives that transcend time and resonate with us all. In these more than challenging times, Whittle’s voice speaks louder and clearer than most.’
Eva Langret, Artistic Director, Frieze London said: ‘Frieze is thrilled to present a major new commission by Alberta Whittle. Whittle’s winning proposal is a moving-image work that explores timely questions relating to personal healing and the cultivation of hope in hostile environments; be it the pandemic, colonialism or xenophobia. We are delighted to be partnering with Forma, for the second year, and thank them for their support in realising this significant new commission.’
Whittle’s creative practice is motivated by the desire to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-blackness. She choreographs interactive installations, using film, sculpture and performance as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces. Her winning proposal features a new moving-image work, informed by the writings of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and an interest in connecting gothic imaginaries and fear of contagion with moral panic as it relates to colonialism and xenophobia.
The commission will premiere on 8 October at 5pm, with an invitation-only screening at Forma HQ and will simultaneously become available to watch online at Frieze.com. Additional public screenings will take place at Forma HQ from 9 – 16 October, 12 pm – 5pm with advance registration essential.
Whittle (b.1980, Bridgetown, Barbados) lives and works in Glasgow. She is an artist, researcher and curator, and is a Research Associate at The University of Johnnesburg. She was a RAW Academie Fellow at RAW Material in Dakar in 2018 and is the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018/9.
Image: Alberta Whittle, video still. Image courtesy the artist and Matthew A Williams.