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Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist Jude Walton is the recipient of the 2018 Georges Mora Fellowship

Established in 2007, and named after art dealer and restaurateur Georges Mora, the fellowship is dedicated to the pursuit of new knowledge and cutting-edge arts practice. It comes with a $10,000 cash prize, an opportunity to undertake one of several artist residencies and a private research desk at the State Library of Victoria. 

With a multidisciplinary practice spanning over 20 years, Walton’s work focuses on ephemerally poetic depictions of the body in place and time. Maintaining a richly diverse artistic career, Walton has worked across dance, film, visual art and theatre, regularly collaborating with dancers, performers and sound artists. Recent work has included Lehte, 2014, and Lehte II, 2015, at Heide Museum of Modern Art, two performances choreographed by Walton responding to Heide’s architectural space via dance, piano and archival film; and The Drill Hall Project, a 2017 site-specific work exploring the notion of absence.

Walton sustains a strong affiliation with dance and physical movement and is currently working on Nadja-Leona (remembering a woman who…), a performance piece based on the second novel by surrealist Andre Breton. Walton plans to use the Georges Mora Fellowship to further develop Nadja-Leona by researching women who have existed on the margins of the surrealist movement in Paris and Melbourne. 

During the fellowship, Walton will travel between Paris and Melbourne to work on Nadja-Leona, collaborating with dancer Gesa Piper, artist Jo White and choreographer and emerging silversmith, Michaela Pegum. The completed Nadja-Leona will be shown in November at the Alliance Française de Melbourne and will include an activated installation and a performance directed by Walton and performed by Piper.  

Throughout her extensive career, Walton has remained an instrumental figure in the Australian art scene.

In 1990, she founded the Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies at Victoria University and went on to work in Britain and the USA. Alongside filmmaking and choreography, Walton has also made a series of artist books, a selection of which was the subject of the exhibition by hand and eye at Sutton Gallery Project Space in 2010. She continues to teach performance theory and studio practice at Victoria University and recently completed a PhD on the artists’ book collection at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.   

The recent achievements of previous recipients of the Georges Mora Fellowship reflect the award’s focus on progressive artistic developments. In collaboration with Trent Walter, Brook Andrew completed a fellowship in 2013 and has since been appointed artistic director of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney in 2020. Following her 2012 fellowship, artist Linda Tegg was approached by architects Baracco+Wright to collaborate with them on an exhibit for the interior and exterior of this year’s Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. As discussed in a recent Art Guide interview, together they created Repair, an installation of 10,000 native plants carefully grown inside the Australian Pavilion to replicate a tiny ecosystem complete with endangered species and live frogs. 

Briony Downes