Anna McNay

Review of Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Corin Sworn at the Whitechapel Gallery


Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Corin Sworn

Whitechapel Gallery, London

20 May – 19 July 2015

A darkened gallery filled with
peculiar objects: ladders, signposts, a stuffed rat, cheese, coloured light
bulbs, mirrors, a wardrobe on wheels. You could be forgiven for wondering
whether you hadn’t perhaps wandered backstage at a theatre, rather than in to
an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. But this is precisely the point.
Corin Sworn’s exhibition is an installation piece Silent Sticks (2015) – about
mistaken identity, and these objects are all based on sta
ge props used by 16th-century
travelling theatre troupes.

Sworn (b1976) is the
fifth winner of the biannual Max Mara Art Prize for Women. She was selected by
a panel of judges, which was chaired by Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona
Blazwick and included gallerist Pilar Corrias, collector Candida Gertler,
artist Runa Islam and curator and writer Lisa Le Feuvre. Based on her winning
proposal, Sworn was awarded a six-month 
Italian residency, which she split between Rome, Naples and Venice.
She used this time to meticulously research the 16th-century Italian Renaissance
art form of the Commedia dell’arte,
with its exaggerated expressions and gestures and tales of subterfuge and
misrecognition at a time when rapid social and economic change were bringing
about anxieties regarding status.

To read the rest of this review, please go to: