Jon Cattapan awarded $80,000 BVLGARI ART AWARD

April 12, 2013

The Art Gallery of NSW and Bulgari announced today that Jon Cattapan is the 2013 recipient of THE BVLGARI ART AWARD.

The Bulgari Art Award consists of a $50,000 painting acquisition for the Art Gallery of NSW and a residency in Italy valued at $30,000. The total award of $80,000 is one of the most valuable art awards in Australia. The award-winner has been selected by the Art Gallery of NSW Trustees and the head curator of Australian art.

Jon Cattapan is a highly regarded artist and one of Australia’s finest contemporary painters. Cattapan’s subject is often contemporary cities, both their architecture and organisation and how we inhabit them. He overlays specific imagery with an abstract patterning that recalls the digital matrixes through which information circulates, extending local references into more global concerns.

Cattapan’s winning painting Imagine a Raft (Hard Rubbish 4+5) 2012 is a triptych painted over a five year period. Images of a city and abstract digital grids are juxtaposed with an image based on humble discards, a pile of disused furniture waiting for the council collection trucks at the end of Cattapan’s street in Melbourne’s St Kilda. The discarded objects resembled a marooned vessel and started Cattapan thinking about broader issues of what we value and what we discard. How do simple belongings shape our sense of identity? And how, by extension, can global preoccupations with territories and surveillance inform the creative zeitgeist of our times? These questions are a part of the artist’s thinking and aesthetic.

Jon Cattapan’s parents were born in the Veneto region of Italy and this award will enable him to reconnect with his family origins as well as experience the rich contemporary and historic cultural life of Rome and Italy.

Wayne Tunnicliffe, head curator of Australian art, said:
'The Gallery has looked to acquire a major painting by Jon Cattapan for several years now and we are thrilled that the Bulgari Art Award will enable us to have Imagine a Raft (Hard Rubbish 4+5) 2012 for our permanent collection. It is a tough but also lyrical painting, which finds a form of beauty in an unlikely subject matter. This winning painting veers between abstraction and representation and is a superb addition to our contemporary Australian collection.’

Julie Ann Morrison, managing director of Bulgari Australia and UK, said:
'We are delighted that the Art Gallery New South Wales has selected Jon Cattapan as the recipient of the Bulgari Art Award 2013. Jon’s work acquired for the state collection is highly distinctive in the context of Australian painting, combining a contemporary sensibility with a mythical and vivid depiction of the “city” as cast out from the landscape. Throughout his extensive career, Jon has challenged the conceptual boundaries of Australian art, bringing new questions and allusive associations to realisation with particular force, expressed with the tradition and timeless skill of a fine painter.’

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