Visions of Utopia wins international photographic prize

6 July 2009

Deakin University lecturer in graphic design and artist Dr Lisa Scharoun and photographer and artist Frances Tatarovic have been awarded first prize in an international photographic competition for their series of artworks inspired by the changing visual culture of China.

The pair won first prize in the Fine Art-Collage category of the 2009 Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) for their Visions of Utopia series.

The announcement delighted Dr Scharoun: “I’m very excited to receive this award, particularly as it recognises our work alongside the work of top-notch photographers such as Erwin Olaf who won Photographer of the Year. Our entry will be exhibited in Paris as part of the competition, so it’s also a great opportunity to showcase our work to an extended audience.”

The PX3 competition is described as striving “to promote the appreciation of photography, to discover emerging talent, and introduce photographers from around the world to the artistic community of Paris” and is judged by members of the international photographic industry. Listed jury members include Carol Johnson, Curator of Photography of Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Chiara Mariani, Photo Editor of Corriere della Sera Magazine, Italy; and Alice Gabriner, World Picture Editor of Time Magazine, New York. According to organisers, the jury selected PX3 2009’s winners from “thousands of photography entries from over 85 countries”.

Dr Scharoun and Ms Tatarovic describe Visions of Utopia as an exploration of how the visual imagery of a ‘socialist utopia’ has changed in China, with propaganda posters being replaced by billboard advertising featuring luxury cars, clothing and products from the West.

“To illustrate this, we created a series of ‘advertisements’ that combine themes of the propaganda posters with the glossy characteristics and techniques of luxury fashion advertising. The past and present visual culture of China is juxtaposed to create a dialogue between the icons of the Maoist vision of a socialist utopia and the contemporary visual icons of fashion and luxury advertising,” the artists noted.

In creating the artworks, Ms Tatarovic and Dr Scharoun established a collaborative process that enabled them both to employ their specialised skill sets as artists as well as provide the opportunity for an extensive exchange of ideas and knowledge. As well as being exhibited in Paris, Visions of Utopia will also feature in the PX3 Annual Book.

News facts
  • Prize winning work on international stage
  • An exploration of China’s changing visual imagery
  • Collaboration enabled exchange of ideas and knowledge

Media contact

Vanessa Barber
Deakin Media Relations
03 5227 71301; 0488 292 644

Image from Visions of Utopia

‘Promise of Plenty’ is one of the images from
Visions of Utopia, which was awarded first prize
in the 2009 Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3).

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7th July 2009