Katrin Koenning wins William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize 2019


Katrin Koenning has won the $30,000 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize with her triptych Three from the series Lake Mountain, 2018. The prize is acquisitive, so Koenning’s work will join the permanent collection at Monash Gallery of Art (MGA), where the prize is held.

This year the annual prize was judged by MGA director Anouska Phizacklea, director of QAGOMA Chris Saines, and artist Christian Thompson AO.

Koenning’s photographs depict the landscape around Lake Mountain almost a decade after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Katrin Koenning, Three, 2018, from the series Lake Mountain, pigment ink-jet prints, 80.0 x 100.0 (each), courtesy of the artist and Reading Room (Melbourne).

Anouska Phizacklea said of her winning triptych, “Katrin’s work speaks with quiet restraint about an issue that will define our generation– the loss of our landscape and the destruction of our planet. It is a powerful reflection on an intense event that left our bush in cinders and took a horrific toll on communities with the loss of so many loved ones.”

“The triptych is a poignant and timely work that fits into a larger conversation about the transience and fragility of the vulnerable nature of the Australian landscape,” said Christian Thompson. “It is a quiet and considered work that speaks to the seductive and ethereal nature of Koenning’s oeuvre. It lingers and stays with you, it not only presents the reality of the issues we are dealing with but contextualises and invites enquiry.”

Chris Saines added, “Koenning’s eloquent requiem for Lake Mountain is a remarkably composed and restrained but still urgent and insistent cri de coeur. It asks us to reflect on the terms of our coexistence with nature, and their sustainability, in an age of environmental crisis.”

On winning Katrin Koenning said, “If one of the roles of the artist is to engage critically with the times in which they live, winning the Bowness enables me to continue doing so. I could not be more thankful, or more proud.”

The judges also presented honourable mentions to Zia Atahi, Polly Borland and Angela Tiatia.

Koenning has been a finalist in the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize twice previously and in 2014 she won the people’s choice award.

Works by all 58 finalists in the 2019 prize are on show at Monash Gallery of Art until 17 November. Visitors are invited to vote for their favourite photographs.

William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize Exhibition
Monash Gallery of Art
5 October – 17 November

News Words by Art Guide Australia