The artist Kate Murdoch has won this year’s Shape Open with her work, Bad Head Day. She wins prize money of £1,000.
Now in its fourth year, the Shape Open exhibition is organised by the charity Shape Arts, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. An opportunity for both disabled and non-disabled artists, 38 artists responded to Shape Open’s 2016 theme, ‘My Life’, using a range of mediums including blood, machinery and modified everyday objects.
This year’s show is at Guest Projects in Hackney, an initiative conceived by Shonibare Studio to offer the opportunity for artists of any discipline to have access to a free project space for a month.
Murdoch said: “As a partially deaf person, I spend a lot of time trying to make sense of the world around me. Hearing aids amplify, but don’t necessarily clarify sounds or the human voice.
“What’s going on? What’s being said? The frustration involved in struggling to hear and join in conversations can sometimes just all feel too much. Bad Head Day is representative of the confusion and muddle I can sometimes find myself in, something akin to a head exploding.”
Further insight into the winning sculpture is provided by Murdoch on her a-n blog, Keeping it Going. A few frantic yet explorative posts explain how she lost the original work before exhibiting it in the open. The ensuing search sparked an interesting methodology of archiving boxes of older works and objects, cataloguing and organising them and finally uncovering Bad Head Day in her garden shed “in the 119th box out of 125”.
Murdoch continues: “It had been no small task to locate the artwork, but in the event, my persistent searching paid off. I feel honoured to receive a prize from an organisation whose work I’ve always respected and felt very positive about.”
Shape Open was judged by Shape patron Yinka Shonibare and Helen Sainsbury, head of programme realisation at Tate Modern.
The Shape Open 2016 exhibition continues at Guest Projects, Hackney, until 21 February, www.guestprojects.com