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New art prize celebrates sport

The World Today - Friday, 1 August , 2008 12:50:00

Reporter: Simon Lauder

ELEANOR HALL: In some ways the two disciplines couldn't be more different. But art and sport have
been melded together by a new exhibition in Melbourne and a large wad of cash.

The winner of the inaugural Basil Sellers Art Prize for the best portrayal of sport in art was
announced last night. Organisers say they hope that the prize will attract new fans to art
galleries.

Simon Lauder went along for the announcement.

SIMON LAUDER: A large plasma TV screen turned on its side shows a sprinter running on a treadmill.
Daniel Crooks is the creator of this work, which he calls 'Static No.11 - Man Running '.

Daniel Crooks worked with just four seconds of footage, which he manipulated with extreme slow
motion and the duplication of columns of pixels so the runner's body appears to stretch out.

DANIEL CROOKS: There is basically a line down the centre of the screen and it is kind of like a
little crevice that then starts to open up and what is in that is the time between the two halves
so as the halves open up you get this, well I call them temporal structures so it is a structure
made out of time. It is, hopefully a kind of valid, what appears to be a valid physical form but it
is completely sort of abstracted and ..

SIMON LAUDER: So you are not just stretching out time?

DANIEL CROOKS: No, I am actually just packing more time in there really. That is what you get., you
get a whole lot more time but you get no space. You have just got that one laser vision.

SIMON LAUDER: And it is clearly art but is it sport?

DANIEL CROOKS: Well, I was saying this to a few people last night. I think what Basil was doing
with this show and trying to get artists to engage with themes and ideas of sport, he sort of did
that just by making it a competition. It has been a kind of weird process to say the least.

SIMON LAUDER: The Basil Sellers Art Prize is named after its benefactor, a businessman and
philanthropist.

Other entries used sculpture, painting, or photography to portray sport. But the director of the
Ian Potter Museum of Art and one of the competition's judges, Dr Chris McAuliffe, says the judges
were looking for works that weren't merely about sport, but one that explores the psychology, drama
and spirit of sport. It's not the Archibald in a footy jumper.

But he is hoping people in footy jumpers will be attracted to the arts by the popular theme.

CHRIS MCAULIFFE: I just don't see why someone who goes to the football or the cricket or you know,
who swims ten laps a day at their local pool, wouldn't be interested in art as well.

SIMON LAUDER: Why don't you see that? I mean there is not a lot that the two disciplines have in
common, is there?

CHRIS MCAULIFFE: Well, I think there is. One of the pieces in this show by Sean Gladwell is a video
installation of various elite athletes at that moment before the race when they have to visualise.
And it is just like an artist; you have got a vision in your head that you want to make real and
that is what an athlete does.

They've seen the race before it is even run and in a lot of ways, that is what an artist has to do
as well. They have to see the painting before it is made.

SIMON LAUDER: In some ways the arts world and the sports world directly compete. People often draw
the differences to light when talking about funding for various industries. For you, is it a case
of if you can't beat 'em them, join 'em?

CHRIS MCAULIFFE: Look there has to be an element of that, you are quite right. We have to argue for
more support for art. But it is a marathon, you can't avoid using the sporting analogies. That is a
long distance race, that one. It is not going to happen overnight.

SIMON LAUDER: Daniel Crooks is still coming to terms with the winner's prize which is more akin to
the sports world than the arts.

DANIEL CROOKS: Oh, it is incredible. Yeah. This is very good. I think we need a few more of these.
This is definitely going to change my life and career. So everyone has been saying what is this the
deposit on a house. But I think it just means that I can, yeah, hopefully get to realise some
slightly more ambitious things that were a little bit out of my league, up until now, so yeah.

ELEANOR HALL: Good luck to him. Artist Daniel Crooks who has just won the inaugural Basil Sellers
prize for portraying sport in art. He was speaking there to Simon Lauder.