The Loewe Foundation‘s inaugural Loewe Craft Prize ended on 10 April with the announcement of its first-ever recipient. German artist Ernst Gamperl is the first winner of the Loewe Craft Prize and beat close to 4,000 applicants since submissions were opened worldwide on 12 April last year.
Specialising in the art of woodturning, Gamperl’s entry is entitled Tree of Life 2 and was hewn from a 300-year-old oak tree that was uprooted in a storm. The result of his artistry are wooden containers that possess the natural lines and flaws of the original material but combined with Gamperl’s careful hand carvings and treatment of clay, earth and stone powder. The use of a damaged object to create something aesthetically beautiful and organic was what attracted the panel of jury to come to their decision.
“This work explores the meeting point between formal values and a social message. Based on rescuing fallen trees and bringing nature back to life with exquisite skill, this is an object that is both beautiful and teaches us the value of recycling. Its maker has developed a distinctive individual voice rather than a style or signature,” expressed Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, the president of the Loewe Craft Prize jury.
The award ceremony took place in Madrid on 10 April and was presented by venerable actress (and the star of Loewe‘s spring/summer 2017 womenswear lookbook) Charlotte Rampling. For winning the award, Ernst Gamperl received a silver trophy and a cash prize of 50,000 euros. Special mentions were also given to fellow finalists Yoshiaki Kojiro and Artesanías Panikua who created a structure out of glass powder and copper oxide powder, and a Mexican-inspired piece out of wheat fibre respectively.
“The work of Ernst Gamperl conveys a unique voice, and the physicality of these pieces will be important for many more years to come.” – Jonathan Anderson
Together with the entries of the other finalists, Gamperl’s works are now featured in an exhibition in Madrid and will travel to New York, Tokyo and London in the months to come.
Entries for the the second Loewe Craft Prize will begin in June and the winner will then be announced in Paris next year.