Kristian Evju was awarded the £5,000 cash prize for his painting Interventions IV, which captured the judges’ attention with its creativity, imagination, and excellent technique.
"His work appeals to me especially because of its smart combination of archival photography and geometric elements – a kind of collage that is clearly very meant but its meaning is teasingly unclear. Good looking and clever." - Jonathan Watkins, Director Ikon Gallery
Kristian talks more about Interventions, the series of drawings and paintings investigating early 20th century archives of female mugshots, which the winning work is part of.
Kristian Evju Interventions IV Mixed media 60 x 100 cm £9,500
There is currently a growing suspicion towards information and an increased disillusionment towards our own recording of reality. We don’t trust images or statements fully anymore.
In Interventions, I wanted to execute a purely visual investigation of the moment between freedom and incarceration and use the found imagery as factoids, re-represented as fiction.
The idea of an image as an avatar is familiar to us through social media profile pictures, passport photos, or video games.
We have gotten used to feeling in control of how we present ourselves.
The mugshot is an interesting antithesis to this idea, where the individual is documented clinically in what often is a low point in their lives.
I am trying to rewrite these moments in my drawings by combining visual facts from different mugshots into fictional representations, thus perhaps protecting the referenced individuals and transporting them into completely new environments.
I make sure that I know nothing about the individual when I use their faces as references, thus making the found imagery the only source of information.
The latest series of work in the series was more closely based on the ideas surrounding the mugshot. All the figurative elements reference real mugshots from American and Australian prison archives.
Still, they are re-contextualised so that the individuals sometimes even share features or appear with a different body than their own.
I wanted these pieces to be more sculptural - more like a tablet than a framed painting.
I produced a series of panels made from poplar wood and aluminium that I assembled using polished and glued together perspex to form physical lines going through the format in place of the previously painted ones.
Some of the wood is exposed, and other parts are painted, either directly onto the wood or on paper stretched onto the wood. The sides of the panels are made from brushed aluminum sandwiched between poplar ply.
As I kept working on the series of panels, a different kind of context started appearing - less formal, more monochrome, volatile, and theatrical. And towards the end of the series, there are clear signs of a shift towards something different - the start of a different, almost operatic approach.
Kristian Evju Interventions IX 60 x 100 cm