15 May 2023 – Dominique White (b. 1993. UK), winner of the ninth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women (2022-2024), has begun her bespoke six-month residency in Italy, organised by Collezione Maramotti. The prize, a longstanding initiative and collaboration between Max Mara, Whitechapel Gallery and Collezione Maramotti, is set up to support and nurture women-identifying artists at a crucial stage in their career who have not previously had a major solo exhibition.
White is interested in creating new worlds for ‘Blackness’ and fascinated by the metaphoric potency and regenerative power of the sea. Her practice weaves together theories of Black Subjectivity, Afro-pessimism and Hydrarchy, manifesting ghostly, seemingly fragile, yet highly physical works which often employ discarded nautical relics and materials such as clay and untreated iron. White’s sculptures, or ‘beacons’, recall sea-bound, imagined worlds which prophesise the emergence of the Stateless: “a [Black] future that hasn’t yet happened, but must.”
White’s residency has been tailored to support, inform and develop her winning proposal, and will see the artist spend six months in specific locations in Italy including Agnone, Palermo, Genoa, Milan and Todi as part of the process of creating a new body of work entitled Deadweight. The work takes as its starting point the measure of ‘deadweight tonnage’, an official term used in the maritime industry that calculates how many units of weight a ship can take before it sinks. Over the course of the residency, White will explore and interrogate the meaning and exploitation of ‘deadweight’ tonnage, its relevance to the historical slave trade and its contemporary forms in the Mediterranean.
Over the next six months, White will explore a range of archival resources, meet with a series of experts in order to learn new narratives and new historical perspectives, and pursue and deepen her knowledge of the production processes, skills and techniques required to develop the work.
White starts the residency in Agnone, in the Molise region, with a one-week workshop at Pontificia Fonderia di Campane Marinelli, one of the oldest bell foundries in Italy, where manufacturers employ the same techniques and materials that have been used since the Middle Ages.
White will then travel to Palermo where she will connect with Giovanna Fiume, Former Professor of Modern History at the University of Palermo, whose research has been fundamental to the subject of the history of slavery in the Mediterranean. Through dedicated one-to-one lessons and visits to critical sites in and around Palermo, White will deepen her understanding of the historical and contemporary slave trade in the Mediterranean. Visits will include Monte Pellegrino, an important reference point for sailors, and Santa Maria di Gesù, which holds the grave of San Benedetto il Moro (1526-89), one of the patron saints of Palermo who was the son of African slaves, but freed at birth.
In Genoa, White will research naval history, archives and construction, supported in her research by tutors from the University of Genoa, Professors Claudia Tacchella and Massimo Corradi, specialising in construction science and its history. White will visit naval and archaeological museums located in Genoa, Imperia, La Spezia and Camogli as well as the Archivio Ansaldo, which holds a vast archive of materials related to Italian maritime and general industries.
During her time in Milan, White will undertake a workshop at Fonderia Artistica Battaglia with a dedicated tutor to master the technique of lost-wax casting, which has been used for centuries in the creation of handmade bronze artefacts. She will also have the opportunity to visit the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, the largest science and technology museum in Italy, which has in its collection the Enrico Toti submarine, the first submarine built in Italy after WWII.
Ending the residency in the Umbria region, in Todi, White will spend two months developing and experimenting with her metalworking practice, visiting local foundries and metalworking companies. She will be supported by the artist Michele Ciribifera, who was assistant to artist and sculptor Beverly Pepper (1922 – 2020) for 30 years, whose primary material was metal. In Todi, White will have a studio where she will learn new techniques and approaches to the new body of work for the final project, assisted by Ciribifera.
White’s new body of work will form the basis of a solo exhibition in 2024, launching at Whitechapel Gallery and touring to Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Notes to Editors:
- Dominique White was announced as the ninth winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women at a ceremony held at Whitechapel Gallery, London, in March 2023. She was chosen from a shortlist including Rebecca Bellantoni, Bhajan Hunjan, Onyeka Igwe and Zinzi Minott, by a panel of art world experts comprising gallerist Rozsa Farkas, artist Claudette Johnson, writer Derica Shields and collector Maria Sukkar. The panel was chaired by the Prize’s guest curator, Bina von Stauffenberg, in collaboration with Whitechapel director Gilane Tawadros.
- Dominique White has a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths and a Foundation in Art and Design from Central Saint Martins. Recent solo exhibitions and presentations include: May You Break Free and Outlive Your Enemy, La Casa Encendida, Statements, Art Basel (Basel, Switzerland, 2022); The Cinders of the Wreck, Triangle (Astérides, Marseille, France, 2022); Hydra Decapita, VEDA (Florence, Italy, 2021-2022); and Blackness in Democracy’s Graveyard, UKS (Oslo, Norway, 2021). Recent group exhibitions include Afterimage at MAXXI L’Aquila (Italy, L’Aquila, 2022-2023); Love at Bold Tendencies (London, UK, 2022); Techno Worlds at Art Quarter Budapest, commissioned by Goethe-Institut (Travelling) (2021-2025).
White was awarded the Foundwork Artist Prize of 2022 (US), has received awards from Artangel (UK), the Henry Moore Foundation (UK) in 2020 and the Roger Pailhas Prize (Art-O-Rama, FR) in conjunction with her solo presentation with VEDA in 2019. White was in residency at Sagrada Mercancía (Chile), Triangle France – Astérides (France) and La Becque (Switzerland) in 2020 and 2021.
- Now in its 9th edition, the Max Mara Art Prize for Women is a biennial award established in 2005 and from 2007 with the further participation of Collezione Maramotti. It is the only visual art prize of its kind for UK-based emerging women-identifying artists with the aim to promote and nurture them at a crucial stage in their careers, through increased visibility, and the resources to develop an ambitious new work by offering essential time, space, creative and professional support. The prize is open to women-identifying artists of any age, living and working in the United Kingdom, who have not previously had a major solo survey exhibition. For each edition a jury, comprising a gallerist, critic, artist and collector, and chaired by the Whitechapel Gallery Director, submits a longlist of women-identifying artists, from which a final shortlist of five is agreed. The winner, selected on the strength of their proposal for the prize, is awarded a six-month Italian residency, organised by Collezione Maramotti, as well as a dedicated exhibition. The residency is uniquely tailored to fit the particular needs and focus of the artist and their winning proposal. Crucially it provides the artist with resources and space to realise a new work, which then forms the basis of a major solo exhibition presented at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy, the following year. Collezione Maramotti then acquire the commission for their world-class art collection, ensuring that the artist is supported and acknowledged beyond the two-year prize cycle. The Max Mara Art Prize for Women is both distinct and exceptional in recognising and supporting the creative process and was awarded the British Council Arts & Business International Award in 2007. Further details on the prize and its history can be found here.
- Founded in 1951 by the late visionary Achille Maramotti, Max Mara is the embodiment of Italian luxury and style. A contemporary collection of ready-to-wear and accessories designed for today’s powerful woman. Recognized for its timeless designs and luxurious fabrics, Max Mara is the epitome of elegance, known for its chic coats, sharp suiting and modern accessories. Max Mara is distributed in 2,500 locations in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Max Mara Fashion Group counts nine brands within its portfolio. The company remains privately held and managed by the Maramotti family. www.maxmara.com
- Collezione Maramotti is a private contemporary art collection which opened to visitors in 2007; located in the historical headquarters of the Max Mara company in Reggio Emilia. It includes a permanent collection of more than 200 works from 1950 to 2019, while regularly presenting new projects and commissions from international mid-career and emergent artists. www.collezionemaramotti.org
- For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters to contemporaries. The Gallery is renowned for showcasing emerging and established female artists and has presented major solo exhibitions of Barbara Hepworth (1955), Eva Hesse (1979), Frida Kahlo (1982), Nan Goldin (2002), Sophie Calle (2009), Gillian Wearing (2012) and Sarah Lucas (2013). The Gallery is a touchstone for modern and contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter. www.whitechapelgallery.org
Previous winners of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women are:
Emma Talbot (2019 – 22) – Talbot’s (b. 1969) installation The Age / L’Età comprised animation, free-hanging painted silk panels, three-dimensional work and drawings. The work explores themes of representation and ageing, power and governance, and attitudes towards nature. For the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Talbot imagined a future environment where humankind encounters the disastrous consequences of late capitalism and must look towards more ancient and holistic ways of crafting and belonging – that rethink ancient power structures and celebrate the natural world – in order to survive. Her work was included The Milk of Dreams at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Cecilia Alemani.
Helen Cammock (2017 – 19) – Cammock (b. 1970) presented a film, a series of vinyl cut prints, a screen printed frieze and an artist’s book interweaving women’s stories of loss and resilience with seventeenth-century Baroque music by female composers, exploring the concept of lament in women’s lives across histories and geographies in her exhibition Che si può fare. Since winning the Max Mara Art Prize for Women she was awarded the Turner Prize 2019 together with Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani.
Emma Hart (2015 – 17) – Hart’s (b. 1974) large-scale installation Mamma Mia! (2016) consists of a family of large ceramic heads, whose interior space is filled with vivid patterns, designed and hand-painted by Hart after researching the designs and practice of the Italian tradition of maiolica pottery. This project represents the culmination of an investigation into pattern, from visual patterns to patterns of psychological behaviour.
Corin Sworn (2013 – 15) – Sworn (b. 1976) created a work drawing from the Commedia dell’Arte improvised plays originating in 16th century Italy, where they continue to be of great cultural importance. Her installation titled Silent Sticks consists in a dramatic stage set with props, costumes, sound and video elements. She was awarded the Leverhulme Prize 2015 which recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future carrier is exceptionally promising.
Laure Prouvost (2011 – 13) – Prouvost (b. 1978) created an ambitious large-scale installation for her Max Mara Art Prize exhibition Farfromwords, inspired by the aesthetic and sensuous pleasures of Italy and plays on the historic idea of visiting the Mediterranean for inspiration. In 2013 she was awarded the Turner Prize. Her project Deep See Blue Surrounding You was presented in the French pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Andrea Büttner (2009 – 11) – Büttner’s (b. 1972) The Poverty of Riches explored the intersection of religion, art and the condition of the artist in the contemporary world. Including woodcuts, cloths, photographs and objects she transformed the exhibition space into a space of contemplation. Part of her project was included in the Whitechapel Gallery’s landmark exhibition Adventures of the Black Square in 2015.
Hannah Rickards (2007 – 09) – The prize enabled Rickards (b. 1979) to realise No, there was no red., an ambitious two-screen film she had been researching before winning the Prize. She was also awarded the Leverhulme Prize in 2015 and had a major exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in 2014.
Margaret Salmon (2005 – 07) – Salmon (b. 1975) travelled to Italy and created Ninna Nanna, a triptych of black and white films exploring themes of motherhood. She went on to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 2007.