The winner of the XL Catlin Art Prize 2016, which showcases recent graduates one-year on from their degree shows, has been announced as Goldsmiths graduate Christopher Gray.

Gray’s prize-winning work, Death by Chair, is a filmed performance featuring hand puppets made from latex chicken skin to replicate human flesh.

Gray, a former boxer, said: “The work I do is quite controversial and to get this support is a really big thing. This piece is to do with fictional violence and I have been looking in mainstream cinema and how it’s quite prolific.

“Society to a large extent has become desensitised to violence. Once you put violence in a different context, you become sensitive to it again.”

The winner of this year’s visitor vote is Royal College of Art graduate Jamie Fitzpatrick. He receives a prize of £2,000 prize after votes were cast by the public at a ballot box at the Londonewcastle Project Space, where this year’s exhibition continues until 22 May.

The judging panel for this year’s prize consisted of the artist Mark Titchner; Helen Pheby, senior curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park; and Vanessa Carlos, founder and director of Carlos/Ishikawa gallery. Phoebe described Gray’s video as “powerful and affecting… brilliantly conceived and realised, triggering questions around the brutal and brutalised”.

The other 2016 finalists were: Rory Biddulph (Slade School of Fine Art), Jude Crilly (Royal College of Art), Jane Hayes Greenwood (City & Guilds of London Art School), Hamish Pearch (Camberwell College of Arts) and Neal Rock (Royal College of Art).

Previous finalists of the prize include Jasmina Cibic, a finalist in 2007 who represented Slovenia at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Juno Calypso, winner of the Visitor Vote in 2013, and Felicity Hammond, a finalist in 2015, have also been announced as winners of British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Awards 2016.

1. Winner of the XL Catlin Art Prize 2016 Christopher Gray. Courtesy of Tom Carter
2. Winner of the XL Catlin Art Prize 2016 Christopher Gray. Courtesy of Tom Carter
3. Winner of the XL Catlin Art Prize 2016 Visitor Vote Jamie Fitzpatrick. Courtesy of Tom Carter

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