LOEWE Craft Prize 2019 – Submissions period now closed

The deadline to enter this year´s LOEWE Craft Prize passed at midnight on October 31. We have been utterly overwhelmed by the response and quality of the work submitted, receiving more than 2500 entries from over 100 countries. We would like to thank everyone who has participated. If you were unable to enter, there is always next year.

Now we hand over the reins to our esteemed Experts Panel who will be reviewing the submissions over the course of the next three months, after which the shortlist of finalists will be officially announced.

The sincere poetry of Luciana Reif

“In my mind’s eye, this prize was something so unattainable that I had subconsciously eliminated it from my memory”, explains Luciana Reif (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1990), winner of the 30th LOEWE Foundation Young Poets Award. When she received the call from Spain, for a few minutes she naively thought ” it must be some kind of joke”. Fortunately for everyone, it wasn’t; and her book of poems Un hogar fuera de mí is now included in the list of winners and has been published by Editorial Visor.

“I had a special kind of faith in this book, an intuition of sorts, that made me wish that something special cross its path; I pondered the decision over and over again… until I finally submitted it. The book had something, and I didn’t want that something getting lost among a multitude of voices. ” A collection of poems where, Reif recognizes, she poured a lot of herself; “I don’t know if that’s good or bad, because it’s very autobiographical, it’s a reflection of my life’s journey, the transition from adolescence to adulthood, what it means to be a woman … issues that, in my day-to-day, I find problematic. “Reif has turned those conflicts into poems in which sometimes” fears become bigger than what they really are. The poetic self is quite deep, dark, and complex. I found that if I wrote two or three poems in a row, the level of anxiety I felt was such that I had to stop”. So, with this book, Luciana Reif has allowed herself to “play a little more than in real life, because one has to live, go to work, have relationships with one’s partner and one’s friends; in real life one has to be more level-headed”.

Reif wishes to preserve a creative authenticity that has her thinking that “it is inspiration that pushes a poem out, in that the verses emerge from things that may have been doing a dance in my head; and then suddenly they shoot out and then it’s like a domino effect.” She hopes “the prize helps me work better or helps me manage that authenticity. Otherwise, when the poem becomes something very rational, it appears when it so wishes, and one doesn’t see it before. I would like to keep that freshness, to feed it. I don’t want to see the poem before it exists”.

Among the poets Reif looks up to are Paula Jiménez España -who helped her edit the book-, Susana Thénon, Alejandra Pizarnik, Idea Vilariño, Marosa de Giorgio… “I read more women than men,” declares the Argentine poet, whose training in Sociology has given her a particular vision of the world. “Women are always portrayed from a more intimate perspective… their thought processes are portrayed to incite poetic discourse and there is an almost immediate need to transform that which is so deep and profound, such as motherhood or the bond with one’s partner. That is something that really speaks to me and that inspires me to write as well.” Thinking on the current moment, she adds: “I hope this prize doesn’t change my understanding of what poetry is, because if there is something that I recognize in Un hogar fuera de mí, is that it came out of something that was very sincere”.

La tarde que me acosté sobre mi mamá,
la tarde que apoyé mi cabeza
sobre su pecho y sentí
sus senos flacos y sus muslos
cansados debajo de las sábanas,
pensé en su torso tendiéndose con desgano
sobre el de mi papá; ella, la mejor gimnasta,
balanceándose una y otra vez
sobre la misma barra, el miembro viril
entre sus raspadas manos.
Mi madre, la gran equilibrista,
capaz de caminar sobre la cuerda floja
y mantenerse en pie.
Yo tenía ocho años ese mediodía
que volví a casa llorando, un chico
del colegio me arrinconó en el pasillo
me agarró fuerte de las muñecas
y besó mis labios.
Cualquier ser es un demonio
si no es una la que decide abrir
Las puertas de su cuerpo.

Luciana Reif
Un hogar fuera de mí, XXX Loewe Foundation Young Poet’s International Award.

Photo Captions: Luciana Reif at the presentation of the XXX LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Award © Álvaro Tomé for Fundación Loewe, 2018.

Ida Vitale, FIL Prize in Romance Languages

Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale has recently been named as the winner of the 28th FIL Prize in Romance Languages awarded by the Guadalajara (Mexico) International Book Fair. “Her clear poetic voice, closely tied to the natural world, artistic expression, and the passage of time, is able to bring new life to tradition and affirm her presence in the modern world”, stated the judging panel in its decision. With poems such as The Light of this Memory, Procurement of the Impossible, Dictionary of Affinities, Constancy’s Dreams and Each in His Own Night, Vitale has become a point of reference in today’s poetic creation and is an integral part of the group of writers known as the Generation of 45.

Ida Vitale was a member of the 27th Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize jury and was asked to introduce the book Contratono by Colombian poet María Gómez Lara, winner of the Young Poet’s Award. In 2014, Vitale participated in a Loewe Talk together with writer Soledad Puértolas, who is also a member of the Loewe Poetry Prize jury.

Born in Montevideo in 1923 – as the fourth generation of Italian emigrants – Vitale grew up in an intellectual environment that inspired her to study Humanities; a disciple of José Bergamín and a faithful follower of Juan Ramón Jiménez, Vitale crystallized as a poet, essayist, professor and literary critic; no less important are her translations of works by such authors as Luigi Pirandello or Simone de Beauvoir, amongst others. In 1974, fleeing the dictatorship that hit Uruguay, Vitale sought exile in Mexico, where she remained for ten years. She currently lives in the US. A collaborator of numerous newspapers and magazines, her link to Mexico had her serve on the advisory board of Vuelta magazine and be a member of the group that founded newspaper Unomásuno. She has an honorary PhD from the University of Uruguay and some of the many awards she has received throughout her career include the Octavio Paz International Poetry and Essay Prize (2009), Spain’s Queen Sophia of Ibero-American Poetry Award (2015), the Federico García Lorca International Poetry Prize (2016), and the Max Jacob Poetry Prize (2017).

Ida Vitale will accept the FIL Award in Romance Languages next November in Mexico, a few weeks after celebrating her 95th birthday.

Photo Captions: Ida Vitale at the presentation of Contratono, by María Gómez Lara, winner of the 27thLoewe Foundation Young Poet’s Award. Ida Vitale with Sheila Loewe and Soledad Puértolas at the Loewe Gran Vía store © Uxío da Vila, 2014.

Hujar and Wojnarowicz featured in PHotoEspaña

Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz are the featured artists in an exhibition presented by the LOEWE FOUNDATION at the brand’s Gran Vía store in Madrid. It is with the photographs that Hujar and Wojnarowicz took of the New York counterculture of the 1970s and 1980s, that LOEWE has participated for the eighth year running in the PHotoEspaña festival.

Hujar and Wojnarowicz appear in this sample as two independent creators whose work is, nonetheless, linked through a tragic friendship that started as a purely artistic creative exchange and evolved into an intense, albeit brief, romantic affair whose deep bond lived on even after Hujar’s death in 1987; from then onwards, Wojnarowicz threw himself into a life of public activism to help raise AIDS awareness by showing the challenges faced by the victims of this disease.
LOEWE pays tribute to this cause with t-shirts –featuring images by the artist– that have been created with the support of VISUAL AIDS and the P.P.O.W Gallery, which represents Wojnarowicz’s legacy. Proceeds will be donated to VISUAL AIDS, an art-focused foundation established in 1988 with the purpose of preserving and promoting the work of HIV-positive artists, fostering social awareness about this disease, creating dialogue through visual art exhibitions and publications, and supporting living artists affected by HIV and AIDS. The t-shirts, which have been produced in a limited run, are available on loewe.com, at Visual AIDS online and at Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, as well as at Printed Matter, the P.P.O.W Gallery in New York, and select LOEWE stores.

The images that make up the PHotoEspaña exhibition are a chronicle of what the East Village of those decades was like, which allows us to appreciate the extent to which these two artists became involved in the radical cultural revolution taking place at that time. In addition to the proximity and relevance that shine a light to social injustices that still affect us today, the images reveal how Hujar and Wojnarowicz were at the helm of the fight for the freedom of sexual identity. The exhibition also includes portraits of contemporary artists and creators taken by Hujar that, together with the subjects of the portraits themselves, symbolised a clear willingness on his part to challenge established norms. This sample shows the southern tip of Manhattan as it was back then: a place where significant social and political transformations were taking place thanks to the leadership of a group of artists who inspire us to this day.

Peter Hujar and David Wojnarowicz, PHotoEspaña 2018. LOEWE Gallery, Gran Vía 8, Madrid. From 4th June to 26th August [Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.]

Photo Captions: Abandoned Car With Globe, 1988-89 © David Wojnarowicz. Courtesy of the Marion Scemama Collection. Merce Cunningham and John Cage Seated, 1986 © Peter Hujar Archive. Courtesy of the Peter Hujar Archive.

The LOEWE Craft Prize in the Design Museum in London

Pale, Shadowed Speckled Traces, Fading Elipse, Bronze Specks, Tilted Shelf by Jennifer Lee was chosen from the shortlisted thirty finalists as the winner of the LOEWE Craft Prize 2018. The prize was launched to celebrate excellence, artistic merit, and creativity in the contemporary craft landscape and this year’s recipient was Jennifer Lee (born in Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom, in 1956), a Scottish potter who studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. The winning piece –made of stoneware clay mixed with natural oxides– together with the finalist works will be on display in an exhibition at the Design Museum in London until 17th June.

LOEWE Creative Director Jonathan Anderson, the person behind the prize, remarked at the time of its launch that “craft is the essence of LOEWE. As a House, we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies, and it will always be relevant”. For the Jury’s Chairwoman, Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, this year’s finalists –whose age ranged from 26 to 76– represented “a multigenerational snapshot of the utmost excellence in craft today”. Zabalbeascoa also said that the thirty shortlisted artists “reflect an almost alchemical manipulation of each medium’s possibilities and reward those who have mastered traditional skills in order to transform them for the contemporary age”.

Since it was established, the Design Museum in London, one of the world’s leading centres devoted to architecture and design, has welcomed more than five million people and staged over 100 exhibitions with objects from a wide range of fields including fashion and graphic design. The museum is located in a landmark modernist building in the heart of Kensington that was remodelled by architectural designer John Pawson. Its halls will be showcasing the thirty LOEWE Craft Prize finalist works, including the winning piece, and two special mentions given by the Jury: Tea Bowl, by Japanese potter Takuro Kuwata (Hiroshima, 1981) and Croissance XL (XL Growth), by French textile artist Simone Pheulphin (Nancy, 1941). The LOEWE Craft Prize 2018 believes that all finalists have significantly contributed to the development of modern craftsmanship and, as such, will document the legacy of the exhibition in a special catalogue that will include all their works.

LOEWE Craft Prize 2018. Design Museum, London. From 4th May to 17th June 2018 [open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m].

Photo Captions: LOEWE Craft Prize 2018 in the Design Museum London.

Ben Clark: the transcendence of the poem

“I am a bit overwhelmed to see that something as small and personal as a book of poems, can transcend as a result of how far reaching the Prize is”, explains Ben Clark (Ibiza, Spain 1984), winner of the 30th LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize for his book of poems La poesía celeste. “I entered the Prize because, although I thought winning was an unlikely outcome, I knew that I would gain readers. It is a book that is very dear to my heart, that took a lot of work and that I wrote with a lot of honesty”, he admits.

Clark explained that he finished La poesía celeste at the beginning of 2017 thanks to a “Valparaíso Foundation grant. I am very grateful to the Mojacar City Hall because this allowed me a brief but intense residency where I was able to wrap up ideas”. He hopes this book of poems “reaches a large number of people. I think it’s a book that can help people who are living experiences that are similar to the ones described in some of the poems; the experience of being a father, whether or not to have children… these are things that I worry about and I know for a fact that my friends and other people who are close to me also worry about them”. It would be truly wonderful, he tells us, “if, in addition to the Prize´s prestige, the book were to have a practical use”.

With regards to the award, Clark believes that “almost everyone would agree that the LOEWE Prize is the pinnacle of a writer’s career; there are awards that are given in recognition of a career path or a lifetime of achievement, but this one is for a specific work”. The LOEWE, he argues “is a summit claim. What’s important now is to recover and to reinvent myself”. That’s where he’s at right now, thinking about writing a book that would converse with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. “I’d really like to recuperate the idea of the classic adventure book and to reinterpret certain elements through a poetic prism in an attempt to create some sort of dialogue with our society”.

Although his first book –Secrets d’una sargantana– was written in Catalan and his parents are British, Ben Clark now rights mostly in Spanish. “For someone, such as myself, who more or less uses classical metres, there are many advantages to writing poetry in Catalan and English, but ever since I moved to Salamanca as a student, I began exploring those literary circles and Spanish is the language that I now use to express myself as a poet; I feel very close to the traditions of that region of Spain, I admire many Latin-American poets, and I think Spanish is a language that has yet to be explored”, he reflects. As to the Prize’s 30 years of existence, he admits that “the poetry and the poets are all very different, something that Luis Antonio de Villena explains in the lengthy prologue of the Mareas del mar anthology”, and a consequence of having “a Jury that is so extraordinary and yet so hard to label, due to the number of members, and the strengths and perspectives they each have. I imagine it must be incredibly difficult for all of them to come to an agreement”, he says laughing. “Nothing would scare me more than to think that the Prize’s winner had been chosen unanimously. The LOEWE prizes should be discussed and defended, and if one is lucky enough to be chosen, it should be a given that some of the Jury members would have voted in favour and some not. And that is a good thing indeed”.

POKER FACE

oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh
Lady Gaga

Habla con niños que no existirán.
Pasea por la orilla de los ríos cantando
canciones pegadizas de adolescentes yanquis
y luego vuelve a casa, donde escribe poemas
de amor con versos clásicos y nunca
menciona las canciones ni a los niños
intangibles. Escribe sobre cosas amables
y se pregunta, a veces, si acaso lo peor
que te puede pasar
es morir solo.

Ben Clark
La policía celeste, winner of the 30th LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize.

Photo Caption: Ben Clark © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE Foundation, 2018.

Anthea Hamilton: The Squash

The Squash, an immersive installation by artist Anthea Hamilton, is the latest in a series of contemporary commissions for Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries which address the heritage of the space as a sculpture gallery . Hamilton has transformed the heart of Tate Britain into an elaborate stage inhabited by a single character who will perform in the space for six months. Over 7,000 white tiles have been laid to span the length of the Duveen and encase a series of structures that serve as plinths for a number of works of art from Tate’s collection.

Anthea Hamilton –renowned for her bold and humorous works that often include references from the worlds of art, fashion, design and popular culture- has designed seven costumes in collaboration with Jonathan Anderson, LOEWE’s Creative Director, that incorporate the colours and the shapes of different varieties of squash or pumpkin; many of the silhouettes of the costumes, made with materials such as hand-painted leather or painted silk crepon, were inspired in designs from the 1970s. Each day, performers will select a costume that will inform and reflect their individual presentation of the character as they move around the space.

Anthea Hamilton Commision Press View

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, said that Andrea Hamilton ‘has made a unique contribution to British and International Art with her visually playful works that both provoke and delight. This compelling commission demonstrates her ability to seamlessly weave together captivating images and narratives, creating rich and innovative environments in which to encounter works of art.’

Tate Britain Commission 2018: Anthea Hamilton is curated by Linsey Young (Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate) and Sofia Karamani (Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate).

From 22nd March to 7th October 2018. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information at www.tate.org or follow us on @Tate #AntheaHamilton. Sponsored by Sothebys.

Photo Captions: Tate (Seraphina Neville) 2018. Fibreglass head covered in green stretch fabric with ruffles and gold sequins. Jersey gauze tracksuit with ruban in gold sequin. Reconstructed leather braided cord cod piece.

POESÍA eres tú

The 30th Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize celebrations continue on with the literary arts as the main protagonist. On the occasion of the three decades since the creation of the Prize, this past 21st March, on International Poetry Day, the documentary Poesía eres tú – a Dadá Films & Entertainment production that was directed by Charlie Arnaiz and Alberto Ortega, and that can streamed on LOEWE’s website– was presented. The previous evening, Madrid’s historic Cine Doré hosted a first viewing of the documentary, followed by a short poetry reading by Ben Clark and Luciana Reif, winners of Prize’s latest edition.

In just over a half hour, POESÍA eres tú features the members of the jury and the outstanding list of historic LOEWE Prize winners, with their individual and distinct literary and aesthetic sensibilities. We also see poets from both sides of the Atlantic as well as young talents who represent today’s most contemporary poetry and who are taking off from new literary platforms, thus offering a diverse and contemporary perspective of Spanish poetry, shown here as a literary genre in constant evolution.

The voices of Enrique Loewe Lynch –Honorary President of the Foundation–, Sheila Loewe –President of the Foundation–, publisher Chus Visor, and of other literary figures who had enormous influence over Spanish Poetry in general and over the LOEWE Prize in particular –Víctor García de la Concha, Piedad Bonnett, José Manuel Caballero Bonald or Jaime Siles, among others– build an eloquent multitalented crucible around a literary genre –poetry- that the LOEWE Foundation took an interest in over three decades ago, and which is still one of the most celebrated within the fields of culture and literary arts.

Also, to mark the LOEWE Prize anniversary, poet and Jury member Luis Antonio de Villena has curated an anthology of poems from the Prize’s thirty winning books, published by Visor under the title of Mareas del mar. In the book’s prologue, “XXX años del Premio LOEWE: Modernidad, tradición y avance”, Villena has also included a number of anecdotes and memories from the Prize’s three decades as well as interesting details of each of the winners. The volume’s front cover shows The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai: a metaphor for the diversity of the sea’s waves that, like the LOEWE Prize, reach the shore periodically.

Click here to see the documentary POESÍA eres tú.

Photo Captions: Viewing of Poesía eres tú at Cine Doré © Alvaro Tomé for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2018. Front cover of Mareas del mar © Editorial Visor, 2018. Image: The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai.

LOEWE celebrate three decades of poetry

The 30th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prizes were just presented at the traditional meal held in Madrid’s Westin Palace Hotel, with numerous well-known representatives from the fields of culture, literature and design in attendance. In her welcome, the Foundation’s Director Sheila Loewe made special mention of Chus Visor for accompanying the Foundation during this three-decade journey by publishing the winning books of poems and including them in her poetry collection.

On such a special day, Sheila Loewe made a point of thanking all LOEWE employees as well as “the small, but incredible LOEWE FOUNDATION team responsible for making this and many other beautiful things possible”. This year, in commemoration of the Prize’s 30th edition, the Foundation has commissioned Luis Antonio de Villena to curate a new poetry anthology of the winning books and, as the Director explained, on 21st March –which is International Poetry Day – the documentary titled Poesía eres tú will be presented “featuring some of the most important moments in the history of the Prize, as well as some of the most important voices in Spanish poetry discussing how they see the future of poetry”. Enrique Loewe, Honorary President of the LOEWE FOUNDATION –who was “visibly moved and satisfied” with the evolution of the Prize– admitted that he “had always dreamt of a day like today”. He also explained that poetry “has changed and benefited me, but it has also changed my company; it has given it a certain sensibility, perspective, vision, rigour, refinement, special search”. He was also deeply grateful for the fact that out of his 55 years at LOEWE “30 of them were spent enjoying and working on this project”. Enrique Loewe also remembered poets Pablo García Baena and Antonio Cabrera.

Author and translator Elvira Sastre, when presenting the book that won the Loewe Young Poet’s Award –Un hogar fuera de mí by Luciana Leif– defined it as a book of poems “that one doesn’t find by chance, but rather, a book that is strategically placed on a table for you to discover”. Sastre, who did not know the Argentinian poet, feels “that she has discovered a necessary author” and recalled how she read the book shortly after the mass march that took place this past 8th of March on International Women’s Day, a demonstration she ventured is “crucial for the development of our world”. When talking about the author, Elvira Sastre explained that “she is a sociologist, a feminist who believes in the power of poetry as a means of social denunciation. Her writing is strong and she demands to be heard”. Luciana Reif, upon collecting her Award, declared that “one never writes alone, and a book shows and hides, as all objects do, the fetish of the conditions that make its own existence possible”. She thanked her family for educating her to be “free and rebellious”, her studies in Sociology for teaching her that “the world is much more complicated than it seems”, the “feminist movement and the women fighting for their rights”, her partner for teaching her “that we must love more than ourselves”, and poetry because, “more than anything else, it teaches us a lot about all this”.

Journalist and author Ignacio Elguero, when presenting La poesía celeste –the winner of the 30th Loewe Prize– pointed out that its author, poet Ben Clark, is barely three years older than the Prize: “If thirty years give a prize maturity, then poetic maturity is what stands out in this book”. He also underscored the book’s originality and revealed that the inspiration for the title came from a meeting of astronomers looking for a lost planet at the beginning of the 19th century in northern Germany, a meeting around which some of the book’s poems were written. “The process of poetic creation and the process of human creation both beat throughout” the work, added Elguero. As such, “a poetic body emerges with various themes, out of which two stand out: father and son relationships, with poems of great emotional intensity, and existential reflection, which explores the human concerns we all share”. The poet uses “large spaces and astronomy in particular; hence the title”. The result, as Elguero points out, are poems “of great expressive power, with very suggestive images” that are sometimes inspired by “anecdotal occurrences or everyday events”, which the poet then uses to “reveal emotions”. For Elguero, that is the book’s greatest achievement: its ability to stir up the reader’s emotions. When picking up his Prize, Ben Clark quoted scientist Stephen Hawking –who had died that same day– saying that we should “look up at the stars and not down at our feet”. “In an increasingly impatient world”, Clark said, “I have tried, with this book, to momentarily divert our attention away from screens, from everyday life… so that we may once again rise towards the stars and the eternal themes of poetry: time, death, and the only cure that exists: love”.

On Tuesday, 20th March at 7:30 p.m., the authors will read excerpts from their prize-winning books in Madrid’s Casa de América. Luis Antonio de Villena will host.

Photo Captions: The winners of the 30th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize, Luciana Leif and Ben Clark with Enrique Loewe and Sheila Loewe © Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2018.