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Winners of Glen Dimplex Artists Awards 1998 Announced

The winner of the 1998 Glen Dimplex Artists Award is Belfast-born sculptor Siobhán Hapaska. The first recipient of the new award for a sustained contribution to the visual arts in Ireland is the distinguished Irish painter Louis le Brocquy. The awards, sponsored by the Irish-based company Glen Dimplex in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, were presented this evening (Thursday 11 June) by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, at a dinner at the Museum.

The £15,000 Glen Dimplex Artists Award is designed to mark a significant level of achievement or development in the work and practice of exhibiting artists. The 1998 award was open to Irish artists who had exhibited in Ireland or elsewhere from 1 October 1996 to 31 December 1997 and to non-Irish artists who had exhibited in Ireland in the same period. Siobhán Hapaska was nominated for solo exhibitions at the Entwistle Gallery, London; the Oriel Gallery, Cardiff, the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and for her participation in the Plastik exhibition in Stuttgart and in Documenta X. The sustained contribution award is a non-monetary award being made for the first time this year. The recipient Louis le Brocquy is one of Ireland’s best-known artists, with a distinguished career stretching over 50 years. He was presented with a specially commissioned award, made by silversmith Cara Murphy.

Siobhán Hapaska has received considerable international attention in recent years with exhibitions in London, New York, Chicago and Stuttgart. Her sculptures defy easy categorisation, deliberately avoiding a recognisable signature, style or preferred material. They are characterised rather by an interplay of disparate forces – technology and nature, the mechanical and the human, the past and the future. Her perfectly finished works have a rootless, timeless quality. Hapaska has described her sculptures as “lost” – objects which don’t know where they have come from or where they are going. Their titles – To, Here, Stray – imply movement between places and times.
Born in Belfast in 1963, Hapaska studied in London at Middlesex Polytechnic and Goldsmiths’ College. She now lives and works in London.

The other artists shortlisted for the 1998 award were German installation artist Hans Peter Kuhn, American multi-media artists MacDermott and MacGough, Dublin-born sculptor Janet Mullarney and Belfast sound and installation artist Philip Napier. All of the shortlisted artists have been paid a fee of £1,000.

Louis le Brocquy was born in Dublin in 1916. A self-taught artist, he left the family business in 1938 to embark on a career as a painter studying on his own at the National Gallery in London, the Louvre in Paris, and in Venice and Geneva (then exhibiting the Prado’s collection). In 1947 he moved to London and began a long and successful association with the Gimpel Fils Gallery. He exhibited at Gimpel Fils that year, the first of some 50 international one-person exhibitions. In 1956 he won a major international prize at the Venice Biennale. Two years later he married the painter Anne Madden and has since lived and worked in Ireland and France. In 1996-97 he had a major retrospective exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Commenting on the awards Declan McGonagle, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Chair of the jury panel, said: “The panel members were agreed that nominations for the 1998 Glen Dimplex Artists Award were stronger than ever, and the exhibition of shortlisted artists was particularly powerful and popular as a result, but that Hapaska deserved the award for her uncompromising and innovative combination of materials and ideas in a post-modern period.”

Lochlann Quinn, Deputy Chairman of Glen Dimplex, said that as a company employing 6,000 people in Ireland, the UK, France, Germany and Canada, Glen Dimplex was especially pleased with the international dimension of the award and the obvious commitment to excellence and innovation on the part of all the artists involved. It was particularly fitting that the new award celebrated the achievements and contribution of Louis le Brocquy, one of Ireland’s best-loved artists.

The Glen Dimplex Artists Award was first made in 1994 when the winner was multi-media artist Alanna O’Kelly. Subsequent winners were video and photographic artist Willie Doherty (1995), American installation artist and sculptor Janine Antoni (1996) and photographic artist Paul Seawright (1997).

The jury panel for the 1998 awards is :
Declan McGonagle, Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art (Chair)
Thomas Sokolowski, Director, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA
Dominique Trucot, Director, Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France
Paul M O’Reilly, Curator/Director, Limerick City Gallery of Art
Dr Margaret Downes, Chairman, BUPA Ireland; Director, Bank of Ireland
Dr Paula Murphy, Lecturer, History of Art Department, UCD; Board Member, Irish Museum of Modern Art
Brenda McParland, Senior Curator: Exhibitions, Irish Museum of Modern Art

The Glen Dimplex Artists Award exhibition continues on show until 5 July.