The Karnataka-based artist was chosen over three others

Karnataka-born artist L. N. Tallur, whose works depict majorly the underbelly of India, has won the Rs 1 million Skoda Prize 2012 for contemporary art, from among a shortlist of four artists — including an artist collective.

Mr. Tallur, picked over other three finalists — solo artists Shilpa Gupta and Srinivasa Prasad as well as artist group CAMP — was handed over the award that comprises prize money as well as a Skoda trophy by South African artist William Kentrige at a ceremony at the Czech Embassy here on Friday evening.

In November, art historian Geeta Kapur, gallerist Anupam Poddar, artist Sheela Gowda and Swiss curator Mirjam Viradinis announced the shortlist from top 20 finalists for the third edition of the Prize, which recognises groundbreaking solo exhibitions of mid-career artists, who are backed by galleries and are below 45 years of age.

Mr. Tallur, who was shortlisted for the prize last year too but lost to artist Navin Thomas, said that he was happy at receiving the honour but suggested a change in the name of the Prize.

“I think it would be better if we change the award’s name to something like Tagore award,” he said.

Mr. Tallur’s “Quintessential” shown at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai narrates the artist’s theory of ‘5th dimension’. The artist believes, when an object of art is ‘museumised,’ it creates a fifth dimension, and is a further addition to Einstein’s 4 dimensions (time-space).

Hath-yoga elements

The 2003 Sanskriti Award winning artist, who now divides his time between India and South Korea, depicted elements of ‘Hath yoga’ in his show, for which he visited the tile factory which was started by the Swiss and German missionaries in 1830.

“History repeats! December 1917, the ‘safe locker’ design from Mangalore Mechanical workshop got a gold medal from Swiss-German Missionaries,” Mr. Tallur had previously said on being shortlisted for the Skoda Award.

Artist Rohini Devasher was also awarded the Skoda’s 2012 Art India Breakthrough Artist Award and was handed a cash prize of Rs. 2 lakh.

The event finale also featured music by the band Furbar Getto and also a special screening of the Skoda Prize film — a documentary on the shortlisted top-4 artists and their art practice.

Runners-up of the award are invited to participate in international residencies supported by Prohelvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.

In the past, renowned artists Marc Quinn, and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor have presented awards to past winners Mithu Sen (2010) and Navin Thomas (2011).

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