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Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award Winner Akiko Diegel

MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday 8 September 2011


Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award Winner Akiko Diegel


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Akiko Diegel won the Paramount Award at the 20th Wallace Art Awards 2011 with her work ‘Cure’, made of 2,634 bulldog and alligator clips crafted from disprin packets, encased in a Perspex box. The work took four months to complete with each half of the clip hand-cut with a scalpel, then hand-folded and assembled together.

She explains that the use of simple materials coupled with an extravagant amount of labour is a reaction to the effects knowledge and technology has had on our lives. Rather than make our lives easier, Diegel believes they have ‘created a world in which stress and anxiety have become the new paradigms of our existences.’

‘In this brave new world, our neural and corporeal senses become suspended by chemical painkillers which blunt our normal bodily processes. Are these drugs intended to stall time until our anxieties have passed, and become a placebo that we come to depend upon to lead normal lives?’

The detailed labour is also a form of therapy for the angst of social experiences, suggesting perhaps that for Diegel, the act of making is the cure.

Akiko receives a 6 month-residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, USA.

Other winners include Matt Ellwood who won the The Kaipara Foundation Wallace Trust Award, winning a 3 month-residency at the Altes Spital in Solothurn, Switzerland; Brydee Rood who won the Fulbright Wallace Trust Award, winning a 3 month-residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco, USA; and Bronwynne Cornish, who won the Wallace Development Award, winning a 2 month-residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Vermont, USA.

The Awards were judged by three distinguished New Zealand artists – Philip Trusttum, Sara Hughes and Peter Gibson-Smith.

Winners and selected finalists in the Travelling Exhibition are on show at The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre in Auckland from 6 September to 16 October 2011, and The Dowse in Lower Hutt from 29 October to 4 December 2011. A Salon des Refusés showing the balance of the finalists is on show at The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre in Auckland from 6 September to 14 October 2011.

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