Alex Seton wins 2020 Sovereign Asian Art Prize

Australian sculptor takes out the Grand Prize and US$30,000.

Words: Yasmine Masi

The Sovereign Art Foundation Hong Kong has announced Australian Alex Seton as the winner of the 16th Sovereign Asian Art Prize. The artist was awarded US$30,000 for his chemically altered marble sculpture that depicts a Yamaha boat engine, titled Oilstone 05_Corrosion (2019).

Seton is best known for his intricately detailed and flawlessly finished marble creations that play on traditional sculpture forms and modes. The winning work is a fine example of his craft, created from 200-million-year-old white statuary marble. Seton purposefully crushed, reconstructed and artificially aged the work with hydrochloric acid, fast-tracking the natural process of corrosion. Here, the artist re-appropriates the material’s static history to represent the effects of man on the fluidity and flexibility of the natural world.

Dr. Mikala Tai, director of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, nominated Alex for the Grand Prize, where he joined 610 other entrants in the competition. “What a brilliant surprise!” Seton said of his win. “Thank you to The Sovereign Art Foundation for this honour and of course an enormous thank you to the brilliant Mikala Tai for nominating me. Without curator advocates like Mikala, it’s almost impossible to stand out in the wonderful roar of contemporary art now.

“This year’s field of artists have my admiration and heartfelt congratulations for their bold and sensitive works, and I’m proud to show alongside them together as artists of the Asia-Pacific region. It is after all, where all the most exciting art is being made now.”

Seton is represented by Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney and Singapore.

Image: Alex Seton, Oilstone 05_Corrosion, 2019. Bianca Carrara marble, epoxy and tarp, 54 x 110 x 53cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sovereign Art Foundation, Hong Kong.


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