Frieze London Gives Artist Award to Mélanie Matranga

Mélanie Metranga. Courtesy the artist.


Three months before its 12th edition takes place in Regent’s Park (Oct. 15-18), Frieze London will announce today the recipient of its inaugural Artist Award. Paris-based Mélanie Matranga was selected by a jury composed of Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen (co-directors of Zurich’s gta Exhibitions), Frieze Projects curator Nicola Lees and British artist Hilary Lloyd, a nominee for the 2011 Turner Prize.

Matranga, 29, will use the Artist Award, funded by Frieze to support projects by emerging artists between the ages of 25 and 40, to make a series of three 3- to 5-minute-long videos titled Awaken Lovers, The Two and the Fro and Walking Backwards. Matranga is designing a café as part of her project, the construction of which will act as a set for her short films. (It will be open during Frieze and fair visitors will be able to purchase coffee and refreshments.) Production begins in early October and will last approx. 10 days; a video will be broadcast online every other day through Frieze week.

The series will feature four main characters-a young artist couple, a transsexual friend and a technician in charge of building the cafe-plus extras. In addition to the cafe set, filming will take place at a house where the couple, played by a professional actress and a male friend of the artist, is staying during the shoot.

In an e-mail to A.i.A. Matranga elaborated on the narrative structure of her project: “I wanted to organically link the construction of an artwork with all the emotions of a relationship. . . . The cafe is also an example of how capitalism is not just part of the economy, but a way of life.”

Frieze has given artist prizes for the past nine years: the Cartier Award, 2006-10, most recently presented to Simon Fujiwara, and the Emdash Award (2011-13), which Pilvi Takala won in 2013. The call for applicants offered a production budget of up to about $16,785, about $8,400 for research and development and a $3,350 artist fee, plus travel expenses.