The Tapestry Design Prize for Architects 2018 attracted a record number of 142 design submissions from 98 national and international entrants. The judging panel selected 15 finalists.
First prize was awarded to Pop Architecture and Hotham Street Ladies. Emeritus Professor Kay Lawrence AM, TDPA 2018 Judging Panel Chair remarked that "their tapestry design Chaos and Fertility, rejects the absence of ornament in Boullée's practice as well as his ideals of enlightenment and 'male reason'. Their design playfully responds to Walsh's brief through their subversion of the western canon, with a focus on transgressive textiles, female history and subjectivity."
Second prize was awarded to Arturo Muela, Paola Ibarra + Daniela Gutiérrez for Colliding Universes in Saint Peter’s Four Meter Woollen Eye and Third Prize to Kevin Liu for After Turrell, Backside of the Moon.
The winning design and prize recipients were selected on the basis of artistic merit; ability to engage to a high degree with the unique qualities of tapestry; ability to design a major artwork that responds to a contemporary architectural space; and capacity to celebrate tapestry in architecture, through understanding of materials form, design and collaborative interpretation.
AWARDED FIRST PRIZE
Pop Architecture + Hotham Street Ladies
Chaos and Fertility
Deep within the submerged, rocky base of Newton’s Cenotaph, and obscured in the shadowy nether regions of the subterranean colonnade, the secret sect of Diana of Ephesus continued at their needle work.
There was no place for them or their practice in Boullee’s cult architecture, its principles promoting the total absence of ornament and other. Cast aside, they railed against Etienne-Louis Boullee’s sphere as an absolute and perfect symbol of Male Reason.
Instead, they conceived of a work that would blow apart this male fantasy: a resplendent, vivid and richly textured tapestry, which - when joined at the seams - would shroud the geometric purity of the sphere with a riotously decorative display. It would be a depiction of the hidden grottos at which they worshipped, each containing a female deity.
When revealed, this would envelop Newton’s Cenotaph with potent symbols of female fertility and fecundity.
AWARDED SECOND PRIZE
+ PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Arturo Muela, Paola Ibarra + Daniela Gutiérrez
Colliding Universes in Saint Peter's Four Meter Woollen Eye
This piece represents Étienne-Louis Boullée´s vision and megalomania. This enlarged geometric eye is an illustration of his desire for grandeur and power through design that would seem too complex or nearly impossible to put together, or in this case, be woven.
As Boullée´s Cenotaph for Isaac Newton, this eye is an ode to remembrance and delimitations. The different interpretations that can result from this piece allude as well to light - a notable characteristic in Boullée´s tribute to Newton -, and movement - distinctive in Jean Tinguely´s Kinetic Art -.
Colliding Universes: What could be considered just an eye, could also be seen as a thin line between past and present, or the separation of interior and exterior. Likewise, this eye could be considered as a vehicle for parallel universes to collide in the viewers’ minds, flourishing as new interpretations: a womb, an ocean, space, or an eclipse. This timeless design can also remind us of our past or tap into our future.
Saint Peter’s Eye: Aiming to recreate Saint Peter´s eye is as impossible as Boullée´s designs for his time. The displayed image of an iris is provisional. In case of being selected as the winning design, an iris from a member of Mona´s community will be photographed to be interpreted in tapestry technique. The chosen member will be someone who represents leadership, as Saint Peter did in his time.
Four Metre: The eye is a geometric figure fuelled by cultural meanings that have turned it into a metaphysical object. Inspired by Boullée, we intend to amplify the eye by enlarging it 173 times its original size of 2.3 cm coinciding with the upper arch´s diameter in the hypothetical site. Therefore, scale becomes a megalomaniac stimulant that empowers our visions.
Woollen Eye: The selection of an eye for this piece is the shared complexity between a human iris made out of millions of threads and the fifteenth-century tapestry technique undertaken by the Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW).
AWARDED THIRD PRIZE
After Turrell, Backside of the Moon
This design reinterprets one of Turrell's recurring works, Backside of the Moon, in the Space Division Constructions series and describes a tapestry of considerable thickness, with a velvet-like pile weave in deep blacks mixed in with rich dark colours. The purpose is to capture and reflect as little light as possible and to present a neutral backdrop to the Pharos Wing that recalls the darkness and intensity of Turrells dark-room works.
Within the centre of the tapestry is a rectangle of irregularly woven dark coloured thread of varying shades and thicknesses, only just slightly visible from the surface of the tapestry. Upon closer inspection this rectangle recedes into the textural quality of the tapestry, and at a distance, as a whole, it suggests the outline of a rectangle that references the barely perceptible apertures in the Space Division Constructions. Similarly, two arcs adorn the sides of the tapestry to mimic the faint wall lighting that is typical to these works.
The gradient and textural variation within the design is taken from a series of mezzotint experiments on copper based on the acclimatising experience to lighting levels in Turrell's Backside of the Moon, in which the outline of the aperture is gently coaxed through burnishing of the deep wells and burrs of a mezzotint ground. Striations within the image emerge due to inconsistencies of the rocker, exhaustion as well as the average of heavy 30-50 directional passes on the copper plate. The deep wells and burrs of the plate impart themselves to the cotton rag paper when printed under heavy pressure, producing a deep, rich velvet print with a density and texture unlike any other. The final printed state of this incomplete mezzotint work would form the basis of this design.