Digital Voyeur snares art prize

'Voyeur', a lone figure born from 3D imaging, has won sculptor and COFA lecturer, Louis Pratt, one of Australia’s most lucrative art prizes.

Louis Pratt

Louis Pratt with his award-winning sculpture, Voyeur Photo: Andrew Railton

A lone figure born from 3D imaging has won sculptor and COFA lecturer, Louis Pratt, one of Australia’s most lucrative art prizes.

The newly established biennial Mt Buller Sculpture Award rewarded Pratt with $100,000 and the opportunity to permanently display his sculpture, Voyeur, in Australia’s first mountain-top Sculpture Park in the alpine village of Mt Buller.

Pratt, who lectures in the School of Art, made his winning-sculpture by manipulating 3D scans of a person, sculpting the virtual figure with digital tools and finally 3D printing the sculpture in a thermal plastic, which took over a 1000 hours. The assembled sculpture was moulded and cast into fibreglass.

The 185cm-high sculpture leans towards the viewer at a 45 degree angle, creating an “optical disturbance and correction” says Pratt, a former Wynne Prize finalist.

''I wanted to make a sculpture that really relates to the human being.''

He said the figure’s period-style dress is a deliberate reference to the past while the digital process of making the sculpture refers to the impact of technology on modern society.

“We invest so much of our time in digital spaces, the whole world is mapped by Google and available for digital consumption. My approach is to examine and mimic this global process in my works of art,” said Pratt.

“I like the fact that Voyeur is alone and looking out from the mountain,” he said.

The sculptor’s Master of Fine Arts focused on the use of new technologies in sculpture and he was involved in developing Australia’s first open-source 3D printer in 2009.

Voyeur was selected from 78 international and Australian entrants by judge, Doug Hall, AM, former Venice Biennale commissioner and former director of the Queensland Art Gallery. Artists were asked to consider the extreme weather conditions of the mountain when submitting their sculptures.

The finalists will be on display at Mt Buller until April 30.

Media contact: Fran Strachan |  02 9385 8732