Emily Riddle Announced As Winner of Whitechapel NEON Curatorial Award

The Whitechapel Gallery has announced Emily Riddle as the winner of the 2016 NEON Curatorial Award. The NEON Curatorial Award was established in 2012 to champion curatorial excellence and is part of an ongoing partnership between the Whitechapel Gallery and NEON, a non-profit organisation in Athens. Building links between emerging curators in London and across Greece, the prize celebrates the exchange of ideas and innovations in the presentation of contemporary art. 

Curators were invited by the Gallery to devise an exhibition proposal drawing from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, which includes over 500 contemporary artworks by 220 leading international and Greek artists. For this year’s Award proposals were submitted by aspiring curators from Greece, as well as students and alumni from the following Masters programmes: Curating the Contemporary, London Metropolitan University and Whitechapel Gallery; Curating the Art Museum, Courtauld Institute of Art ; Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Curating, Goldsmiths College.

Emily Riddle received the award from Dimitris Daskalopoulos for her submission proposal, XENIA: Guests, Hosts, Friends, at a ceremony held at the Whitechapel Gallery this evening, Thursday 15 December.

Riddle’s proposed exhibition, XENIA: Guests, Hosts, Friends presents three moving image works from the D. Daskalopoulos Collection, shown together in Athens for the first time, across three venues over the course of two months.

Conceived as a contemporary response to a commemorative exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum titled Odysseys, Emily Riddle’s proposal draws its inspiration from the same eponymous Homeric text. Whilst the National Archaeological Museum recounts a chronological narrative of Mediterranean journeys primarily through ancient objects, the aim of XENIA: Guests, Hosts, Friends is to allow for the relationship of host and guest – so crucial to the Odyssey – to be considered within the contemporary contexts of migration.

The works will be shown simultaneously at three locations across the district of Exarcheia (Athens): Isaac Julien’s Paradise Omeros (2002) at the National Archaeological Museum, Kutlug Ataman’s Küba (2004) in the former Green Park Café, and Julian Rosefeldt’s Asylum (2002) in the Patision campus of Athens Polytechnic University. With each work exploring oscillations between xenophobia and xenophilia, between the individual and the community, XENIA: Guests, Hosts, Friends aims to bring the diverse communities of the Exarcheia district together, reaching beyond first impressions and media stereotypes.

The judging panel for the 2016 NEON Curatorial Award are: Mathieu Copeland, Independent Curator; Laura McLean-Ferris, Adjunct Curator at the Swiss Institute, NYC; Andrew Renton, Director at Marlborough Contemporary, London, chaired by Nayia Yiakoumaki Curator Archive Gallery & Project Manager of NEON Curatorial Exchange & Award.

Of the winning proposal Nayia Yiakoumaki, Chair of the judging panel commented: “Emily Riddle’s XENIA: Guests, Hosts, Friends is an outstanding proposal that links ancient Mediterranean journeys with the contemporary subject of migration, addressing strong global issues of current social and political concern. Emily Riddle looks at the D.Daskalopoulos Collection in a new light for both a local and an international audience, as well as making poignant connections between art and archaeology.”

Emily Riddle completed her MA in Curating at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, in September 2016. She co-curated the group exhibition Confusion of Tongues (The Courtauld Gallery, June-July, 2016), and assisted Nada Raza and Chris Dercon in preparing for Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All (Tate Modern, June-November, 2016). Riddle works part-time as a studio assistant for Peter Liversidge and Nigel Hall RA. Prior to her curating studies, she completed a BA degree in English at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Elina Kountouri, Director of NEON said: “I am confident that this important cultural dialogue between Greece and the UK through our partnership with the Whitechapel, has gone from strength to strength with each year of the Curatorial Award. During these times that call for a greater need for mutual cross-cultural understanding, Emily Riddle’s exhibition proposal sheds light on this with its timely relevance and thoughtfulness. We were impressed with her strong grasp and integration of NEON’s core philosophies into her exhibition concept, and we congratulate Emily on this well-deserved Award.”

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