Christopher Gray, Winner of the XL Catlin Art Prize 2016

Christopher Gray has been awarded the XL Catlin Art Prize 2016 for his film Death by Chair winning £5,000. Jamie Fitzpatrick has won the Visitor Vote, taking away £2,000.

Gray’s work explores the simultaneous fear and fascination evoked by violence. Set in a medieval torture chamber, Death by Chair utilises hand puppets made from latex chicken skin in order to replicate human flesh. Gray states: “once you put violence in a different context, you become sensitive to it again”. Death by Chair is an attempt to contextualise violence in a sensitive-evoking way. Gray also comments: “society to a large extent has become de-sensitised to violence” and audiences are led to question why worse levels of violence in cinema don’t disturb viewers as much as the puppet violence depicted in Death by Chair.

Jamie Fitzpatrick’s (loudly) chomp, chomp, chomp features a series of moving sculptures satirising and reworking statues around London. These look at the rhetoric of image making and how totemic monuments, flags, statues and plinths are used to impose power, authority and control.

The XL Catlin Art Prize 2016 was curated by Justin Hammond and decided by a panel of three judges: former Turner Prize nominee Mark Tichner; Senior Curator of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Helen Phelby PhD; and founder and director of Carlos/Ishikawa, Vanessa Carlos. The prize, celebrating its tenth year, gives the most promising UK art graduates an opportunity to realise new projects and showcase their work. All finalists were selected from the annual XL Catlin Art Guide for their outstanding quality of work and their potential to impact the art world over the next decade.

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1. Christopher Gray, Death Chair. Installation view. Courtesy of XL Catlin Prize.