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  • Aug 11, 2017

Kuba Dorabialski Wins 2017 John Fries Award

KUBA DORABIALSKI’s video work Invocation Trilogy #1: Floor Dance of Lenin’s Resurrection (2017) was chosen from a pool of 600 entries, winning the artist the 2017 John Fries Award. Photo by David Varga. Courtesy the artist and Copyright Agency | Viscopy.

Sydney-based Kuba Dorabialski scooped up the 2017 John Fries Award with his larger-than-life, single-channel video piece Invocation Trilogy #1: Floor Dance of Lenin’s Resurrection (2017), which explores various topics that range from architecture to literature. The artist, who hails from Wrocław, Poland, describes his practice as an attempt to dig into “the thin and uncertain border between nostalgia and sentimentality, especially for the recent Soviet past.”

In its eighth edition, the non-acquisitive, annual John Fries Award is presented to early-career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand with a monetary prize of AUD 10,000. Aiming to build a more resilient creative economy in this region, the award works in collaboration with the nonprofit Copyright Agency | Viscopy in order to help develop up-and-coming artists’ professional careers, and to connect them to a larger artistic community.

Selected from 600 entries by a panel of five guest judges—curator and interdisciplinary artist Consuelo Cavaniglia; senior curator and programs manager at Wellington’s Dowse Art Museum, Melanie Oliver; curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Clothilde Bullen; artist Fiona Lowry, who has won multiple awards; and award committee chairperson Kath Fries—Dorabialski was announced as the winner at the opening exhibition at the University of New South Wales Galleries, where the works of the 12 award finalists will be exhibited from August 12 until September 2, 2017. 

Consuelo Cavaniglia, who is also the award’s guest curator, commented on the interdisciplinary selection of works, which include text-based art, graphic design and new media: “This year’s finalists are drawn from a broad cross-section of early-career artists with diverse and engaging practices; the interdisciplinary nature of these is very exciting. Although there is no single curatorial theme, many of the finalists’ works engages with questions of cultural identity and consideration on landscape. Conversations with artists about new commissions for the award are currently underway, with many artists electing to expand their modes of practice in experimental ways.”

Previous recipients of the award include Eric Demetriou, Ben Ward, Bridie Lunney, Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forward, Jacob Leary, Sanne Mestrom and Hannah Bertram.

Julee WJ Chung is the assistant editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

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