Exeter-based artist Volkhardt Mueller has won the Artist of the Year award at TACO 3D Torre Abbey, in the summer exhibition Tamed, which was linked to the Damien Hurst-led exhibition in the Spanish Barn, Torquay.
The award was for his work Cell, which was the centre-piece of this year’s exhibition.
Amelia Marriette, the curator of TACO 3D, said Volkhardt’s piece is ‘of Turner Prize winning quality’.
“It is an exceptionally thoughtful piece, the art work was ‘made’ by the prisoners who were held in the holding cell awaiting trial, for it is their “scratchings” that make the art come alive,” she said.
“The fact that the cell cannot be entered inverts the whole idea of incarceration and comments both on society at large and more specifically relates directly to Hirst’s piece – a cow trapped in formaldehyde in the barn and a cell you cannot enter in the abbey. I have been so impressed by the way that the artists have responded to the theme.”
Volkhardt’s work was one 19 pieces chosen by Peter Randall Page, art historian Claire Donovan and Amelia Marriette, keeper of art at Torre Abbey, from more than 90 entries.
Cell was created from the graffiti-like etchings made by prisoners while they were held at in the cells at Exeter Castle when it was a court. It was initially created with a site-specific piece called Pastoral that was part of the Transition exhibition at Exeter Castle in 2009. Cell has also been shown at the Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf, London.
Volkhardt has also taken part in the Politics in Print exhibition with Exeter’s Double Elephant Print Workshop.