Liverpool Art Prize 2013: Kevin Hunt

In the second of our profiles focusing on the artists shortlisted for Liverpool Art Prize 2013, we speak to The Royal Standard Studio member Kevin Hunt…

Making ‘sculpture using found, redundant objects, particularly furniture which is reconfigured into something new’, Kevin Hunt has within the last 12 months been involved with group exhibitions and art festivals all over the UK and internationally, as well as curating projects and launching his first art fair.

Congratulations on being shortlisted for the Liverpool Art Prize! How does it feel? 

It’s great, if a little stressful! I’ve been working long hours in the studio these last few weeks making some of the most intricate works I think I’ve ever made so I’m pretty tired, but it’s all good! I was chuffed to be shortlisted for the Liverpool Art Prize this year particularly, because of the quality and credibility of the selection panel, it’s great to have that bit of recognition, or that’s what I tell myself when I’m still sanding objects like a mad man at midnight in the studio!

What does the Liverpool Art Prize represent to you?

I think really the more important question is what it represents to the city? I’d hope that the prize is beginning to become noticed on a more national level, which in turn raises the profile of not just us four nominees, but lots of other artists and artist-led activity in Liverpool, like the great things that continue to happen at The Royal Standard and so on. It’s a snowball effect and that is why it’s important that the Liverpool Art Prize is taken seriously. It’s for the good of all the artists living and working here.

Artists are shortlisted for “a piece of work or project they have realised in the previous year” and “the general contribution or impact they have made on the Liverpool art scene.” Does this make you consider your practice in a different light?

I suppose again it just provides a little recognition which is nice, and that helps provide some kind of justification when at times you’re working so hard and you loose track of why you are actually doing what you are doing, and if it is important or not. Things were crazy during the Biennial last year, working on projects like HELD and organising CAVE (Art Fair) with Flis Mitchell, alongside other exhibitions and things that were happening at the same time. With CAVE it was something we both really believed needed to happen in this city, and it’s that kind of belief that what you are doing has some kind of importance that something like the Liverpool Art Prize makes seem worthwhile in the long run.

For the first time ever, the LAP Exhibition will be housed in the Grand Hall (Albert Dock) – which this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of its official reopening. What was the space like to use? Did it ignite any new ideas in terms of presenting your work?

It’s quite a bizarre space with some odd architectural features from different periods amalgamated together, a lift shaft, staircase, lots of pillars and wall to ceiling glass windows looking out onto the dock; all these things are tricky to work with but that excites me really.

The works I will present in the exhibition are brand new and many are a bit of a departure for me in terms of the way they have been constructed, their use of colour and scale. I’ve been pushing myself to take risks with the work for the Liverpool Art Prize and several have been made specifically with the idiosyncrasies of the space in mind, it’s quite tall in there so one sculpture is 3 meters high. That has been the most logistically complex of them all, I still haven’t quite figured out how I am getting it out of the studio yet!

In the end there could be well over 10 sculptures intermingled with the idiosyncracies of the space, alongside some new photographic images that will hopefully, in some way, fade into the fabric of the building.

Tough but obvious question: is there any competition between the four artists? You have been nominated alongside  good friend and long term colleague Laurence Payot; has that been strange?

I’m trying not to think of it as a competition at all, but just a platform to make and show some new work alongside some good friends in what will hopefully be a great group exhibition. That’s what I’m interested in mostly, anything else is a bonus. With that frame of mind it is really nice being nominated alongside Laurence, who I’ve known and worked with for, like eight years or something! The quality of the work is more important to me than winning or anything, and I think she probably feels the same.

Have you prepared a winner’s speech? 

Haha no! As if! If I won I’d probably just thank my Mum or something cliched!

What other exhibitions/events are you involved with at the moment, current or upcoming?

Its a busy year really, I’m currently working on easy does it, an evolving trilogy of exhibitions touring artist-led spaces across the UK. The show is a manifestation of a particular aspect of research in my own practice that I’ve been thinking about for like 3 years or something, presenting new sculptures by me alongside the work of 10 other artists. Its first incarnation opened in February at David Dale Gallery in Glasgow and the next, very different version will open at Aid & Abet in Cambridge in June, before its final stop at Supercollider in Blackpool in August. Alongside this I’m planning several exciting projects working together with artist Sam Venables that will be really exciting if we can pull them off!


Liverpool Art Prize opens Thursday 25th April 6-9pm, the Grand Hall, Albert Dock

Posted on 23/04/2013 by thedoublenegative