The Stella Prize 2017 Winner
Announcing the 2017 Stella Prize Winner

Announcing The Stella Prize
2017 Winner

On 18 April 2017, the Stella Prize announced this year's winner:

By Heather Rose - Allen & Unwin

She watched as the final hours of 'The Artist is Present' passed by, sitter after sitter in a gaze with the woman across the table. Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery. What are we? How should we live?

If this was a dream, then he wanted to know when it would end. Maybe it would end if he went to see Lydia. But it was the one thing he was not allowed to do.

Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in 'The Artist is Present'. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.

This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them.

Judges' report

The Museum of Modern Love is an exceptional novel that reimagines Marina Abramovic's 2010 performance of 'The Artist is Present', in which she silently encountered individual members of a larger audience of viewers while seated in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The performance itself was an intensely compelling exhibition of the power of silence and vision, and Heather Rose develops a suite of intersecting characters, all visitors to the performance, all subject to their own daily routines, to the possibilities of conversation and restitution, to hope and bereavement, to a need for internal guidance and meaning.

The novel is grounded in the everyday lives of a rich and compelling cast of characters, but it also transmutes the intensity and significance of Abramovic's work into the medium of literature, where people move, in their thoughts, conversations and memories, between everyday life and art, as the modest confrontation of the artist's gaze in her performance stimulates each character's individual confrontation with questions that lie at the heart of their own lives. This novel is an unusual and remarkable achievement, a meditation on the social, spiritual and artistic importance of seeing and being seen, and listening for voices from the present and past that may or may not be easy to hear.

It is rare to encounter a novel with such powerful characterisation, such a deep understanding of the consequences of personal and national history, such affection for a city and the people who are drawn to it, and such dazzling and subtle explorations of the importance of art in everyday life.

The above article is an excerpt from The Stella Prize website. To read more about The Stella Prize and this year's winner, CLICK HERE.