Last night, the young artist Lawrence Lek was announced as the winner of the 2015 Dazed Emerging Artists Award, given by the magazine Dazed & Confused in collaboration with Converse.
The announcement took place during a gala held at the Royal Academy in London, where the five shortlisted artists—Lek, Patrick Cole, Rachel Pimm, Jonathan Trayte, and Tamsin Snow + Sarah Tynan—presented site-specific works in five large rooms.
The works ran the gamut of all that is trending in young contemporary art: video games, stand-up comedy-inspired performance, documentary film making, dry architectural installation, and jumble sale-style sculptural display.
Cole enthralled the crowd of attending hipsters with his hilarious performance Ruin, staged in a purpose-made installation; and Trayte made a wow effect with his large installation The Shopper’s Guide, in which a spate of cast sculptures in the form of vegetables and trinkets was part Yayoi Kusama, part Sarah Lucas, and part convenience store.
In the end, it was Lek’s video game Unreal Estate that won him the £5,000 cash prize. Lek created a virtual world that took place in the Royal Academy itself, a sort of mise en abyme that had visitors queuing to play his video game.
“It’s the fourth time I applied to this prize, so I am really happy,” said a surprised Lek, when he took the stage to receive the prize.
Perseverance is a young artist’s best friend, as we’ve already told you (see 12 Must-Read Tips for a Successful Career in the Art World). And don’t forget that video games are also hot right now (see Giorgio de Chirico Stars in Trippy Video Game and Smithsonian Nabs Atari’s E.T. Video Game Rescued from Desert). It’s a winning combination.
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