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Jon Cattapan awarded $80,000 BVLGARI ART AWARD

Announced today, 12 April 2013

Jon Cattapan Imagine a Raft (Hard Rubbish 4 + 5) 2012, oil on linen, 140 × 140 cm each panel

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.’

The winning work is currently on public display at the Gallery.

Note to editors
Jon Cattapan is a Melbourne-based artist who has exhibited extensively both in Australia and internationally. Cattapan’s work is held in the collections of all Australian state museums and many regional galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. His work is also held in major private and corporate collections. In 2008 Jon was Australia’s official war artist in Timor Leste and that same year a comprehensive monograph was published by Melbourne University Press, written by Dr Chris McAuliffe. A major retrospective of his work was held in 2006 at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. In 2009 ABC TV produced and broadcast Artists at work: Jon Cattapan, which focused on the artist’s time in Timor Leste and his resultant Night Vision works.

Bulgari was founded in Rome in 1884 as a single jewellery shop, whose magnificent jewellery creations soon became emblems of Italian excellence. Throughout the last few decades Bulgari developed into a global luxury brand renowned for its highly creative design in jewels, watches and accessories, and retailing in the major luxury retail precincts of the world. Up until 2011 Bulgari was majority-owned by the Bulgari family and, though it is now part of the LVMH Group, the Bulgari family are still instrumental in the management of the Bulgari brand and the design of jewellery. International success has carried the distinctive Bulgari design into a diversified portfolio of products and services and, increasingly, hotels.

For further information please contact:
Art Gallery of NSW: Claire Martin, 02 9225 1734,
BVLGARI: Trent Power, 02 8257 1000,