MK Calling 2020 exhibition: two winners, two very different artforms

Posted 31st October 2020

MK Gallery is proud to announce the winners of MK Calling 2020, the international contemporary art show celebrating the very best of contemporary art through more than 130 artistic practices.   

Swiss artist Fabienne Hess scoops the MK Calling 2020 Judges’ Award – a cash prize of £4,000 – for her piece entitled: Gap Particles. Local MK sound artist Stuart Moore receives the Audience Award – a cash prize of £1,000 – for his audio composition work.   

Both artists’ work drew much attention in what was MK Gallery’s first open call submission exhibition since its re-opening in March 2019. Held in its five world-class gallery spaces, the exhibition features established and up-and-coming artists, displaying the most dynamic work being made today. The show opened on 15th February and was due to close on 17th May. However, with the interruption of covid-19, the exhibition closes on Sunday 1 November, giving time for visitors to view the winning artists’ work in situ.  

Hess’s winning work, Gap Particles,is an ethereal silk work, featuring images of objects drawn from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The printed images include textile fragments, shards of pottery and scraps of paint, all of which are incomplete, whether through physical loss or missing information. Silk threads have been unravelled to the point where the fabric barely holds together.   

‘I am extremely honoured by receiving this award,’ said Hess. ‘More significantly though, I am grateful for MK Gallery for trusting me to realise this work which I had never shown before, which the gallery only knew in form of a sketch prior to its installation and which is so fragile I was worried a draft might destroy it before the end of the exhibition.’  

Moore’s popular piece is built from microtonal harmonies sourced from nature and the man-made environment, including traffic sound, birdsong and rain. Several devices are triggered by natural and involuntary movements made by the observer as they approach the work and include those sounds as part of the composition.   

On winning the Audience Award Moore said, ‘It’s brilliant to get this award and thanks so much to everyone who voted! Participating in MK Calling 2020 has been a very interesting and memorable experience. What I’ve discovered through creating and setting up The Sound Of The Space You Displace has already fed into several other pieces and the prize money will help enormously in getting new projects off the ground!’ 

The 130 vibrant and eclectic submissions were selected by MK Gallery; Stephanie MacDonald, co-founding Director of 6a architects; and artist Stuart Whipps. The judging panel was unanimous in its decision to credit Hess as the worthy winner of the Judges’ Award.    

‘The breadth of art forms in this exhibition is incredibly impressive,’ said Anthony Spira, Director at MK Gallery. ‘Collectively this has given audiences the opportunity to experience some of the very best contemporary art. Fabienne’s winning piece impressed the judges for its archaeological process and shimmering, ethereal presence.’   

Having garnered the most visitor votes for his audio submission, Moore was the natural winner of the Audience Award.  

‘Mk Calling 2020 has been such a sensory experience for many of our visitors,’ said Fay Blanchard, Head of Exhibitions at MK Gallery. ‘There are several playful and interactive works which, in the current climate, provided a mindful pause for visitors. Stuart’s audio work engaged the audience in this way and proved to be particularly popular.’  

About Fabienne Hess 

Hess’s practice engages with image archives. Regardless of source, the artist is interested in undoing existing taxonomies – hierarchies, groupings and formal relationships – to create new narratives. The delicate materials she uses, such as silk and plastic foils, gesture towards the elusive quality of memory.   

About Stuart Moore 

Stuart Moore is a sound artist living in Milton Keynes. His work explores the overlap between the soundscape that surrounds our everyday and musical composition. Microtonal notes and qualities are derived from natural sound, forming the basis of unique internal harmonies specific to each piece.