Winners Announced for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016

Rachel Ara was announced as the winner of the Main Prize for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016 at the Exhibition Private View earlier this week. Artists and industry figures travelled from locations such as Vienna, Germany, Scotland, Northern Ireland and across the UK to experience the exhibition and hear the announcement of the winners.

Ara’s selected piece This Much I’m Worth (2014-2016) is a reflective artwork that continually displays its own sale value. The installation sources its worth from the internet, assisted by a series of complex data mining algorithms called “the endorsers”. Constructed with materials that resonate with the sex trade and the art world, it seeks to question the value we place on objects and people, and ask who has the right to apportion these values?

The evening continued to celebrate excellence in contemporary art, announcing the Student Prize Winner as David Hochgatterer with TIME TO X (2013-2014). The audio installation transforms the fourth dimension, time, into a geometrical expanse. A short audio file is sliced into short fragments, mapped on a horizontal array of 96 loudspeakers and played back simultaneously, so every acoustic element of the sound is continuously audible. The listener experiences a “still picture of a period of time.” When moving very closely along the installation one is, proverbially, moving in time.

The Main Prize winner was awarded £5,000 and the Student Prize Winner £1,000, courtesy of Hiscox. Global specialist insurer, Hiscox has a 100 year heritage of insuring complex and unusual risks. It has its own corporate art collection, with approximately 1,000 thought-provoking works displayed in its offices around the world. These awards acknowledge the artists’ achievements in creating captivating projects and are a major accolade, supporting their future career. The winners also receive art supplies vouchers courtesy of Winsor & Newton, to use in their practice, and a selection of art books from Prestel.

The winners were chosen by a judging panel comprised of artists and curators, bringing together specialists from leading cultural institutions. The panel included Clare Lilley, Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, John Keane, Aesthetica Art Prize Main Prize Winner in 2015, Whitney Hintz, Independent Advisor and Curator of the Hiscox Collection, Alex Newson, Senior Curator, Design Museum, Karin Askham, Dean of the School of Media, London College of Communication, Sophie Raikes, Assistant Curator, Henry Moore Institute, Dr Sam Lackey, Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield, Phillip Prodger, Head of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery, and Cherie Federico, Co-founder & Managing Director of Aesthetica.

A further eight shortlisted artists complete the group exhibition at York St Mary’s, spanning photography, painting, installation, three dimensional design, drawing and film. These artists are featured in the April/May issue of Aesthetica Magazine, which attracts a global readership of 311,000. They are also published alongside 90 artists in the longlist in the Aesthetica Art Prize Annual, Future Now, which is available at York St Mary’s and online.

Visitors to the exhibition are invited to vote for their winner in the People’s Choice Award, and will be entered into a free Prize Draw to win an Aesthetica Creative Package – including a one-year subscription, the Future Now publication of shortlisted and longlisted works and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual – a compelling collection of poetry and short fiction.

Alongside the exhibition, there will also be a dynamic series of talks, which are open to the public and free to attend, as well as the Future Now Symposium – a new two-day event, taking place on 26 – 27 May at York St John University, that focuses on talent development and tackle’s themes in today’s current artistic climate through lectures, workshops and panel discussions.

The Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition is now open Wednesday-Sunday, 12-4pm, until 29 May, York St Mary’s, Castlegate, York, YO1 9RN.

To book tickets and for more information on the Future Now Symposium, visit

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1. Rachel Ara, This Much I’m Worth, 2014-2016. Image courtesy and copyright of Jim Poyner.