The Guatemala City-based gallery awarded prize by international jury of curators and directors for a remarkable presentation in Focus at Frieze London 2019
The Frieze Focus Stand Prize 2019 has been awarded to Proyectos Ultravioleta (Guatemala City) for their outstanding solo presentation of Hellen Ascoli in Focus, the section at Frieze London for galleries aged 15 years or younger.
This year’s jury of institutional curators and directors included Fatoş Üstek (Director, Liverpool Biennial); Anna Katherine Brodbeck (Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art); and Tanya Barson (Chief Curator, MACBA Barcelona). Jurors commented that ‘The solo presentation of Guatemalan artist Hellen Ascoli at the Proyectos Ultravioleta booth stands out with its subtle aesthetics, sophisticated revisiting of textile tradition, poetic abstraction of the body and layering of personal and political histories.’
Proyectos Ultravioleta’s presentation features the most recent textile works woven by the artist in a backstrap loom, as well as a series of multi-layered drawings presented on top of a new series of rustic bespoke furniture (as a base) designed by her husband, industrial designer Karl Williamson. Through her works, Ascoli is interested in inserting herself in a broader conversation on weaving with both the native Mayan women of Guatemala and artists who have pushed the boundaries of fabric into an avant-garde artform like Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl, and most recently Shiela Hicks and Faith Ringgold. Her drawings reflect the way in which one would approach weaving in a backstrap loom altogether, through an intricate process of layering single elements to create a larger whole. Presented on top of the furniture designed by Williamson, the drawings take on a sculptural presence which directly relates to the small stools and benches used by the Mayan weavers of Guatemala to elaborate their weaves.
Special commendations went to Commonwealth and Council (Los Angeles) for their presentation of Nikita Gale and Patrick Staff themed around social and political relations and the constitution of a public subject, and to Galerie Tanja Wagner (Berlin) for their solo presentation of Kapwani Kiwanga investigating historic systems that create and maintain power imbalances through surveillance and institutional control.