Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Janet Cardiff wins The Millennium Prize

Ottawa, Canada - March 7, 2001


 " Janet Cardiff remporte le Prix du millénaire " 
Canadian artist Janet Cardiff has won the Millennium Prize, following her brilliant presentation in the exhibition Elusive Paradise: The Millennium Prize. The jury said it was "deeply moved" by Cardiff's Forty-Part Motet, a sculpturally-conceived sound piece of forty separately-recorded choir voices that are played back through forty speakers positioned around the National Gallery's Rideau Chapel. The prize, worth $50,000 Canadian, is made possible thanks to the generous support of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation.
Forty Part Motet (2001), is a reworking of "Spem in Alium" by Thomas Tallis, a 16th-century English composer. "Most people experience this piece now in their living room in front of only two speakers," says Janet Cardiff. "Even in a live concert the audience is separated from the individual voices. Only the performers are able to hear the person standing next to them singing a different harmony. I wanted to be able to climb inside the music. I am also interested in how the audience may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space."

"The expressive possibilities of this work hold great promise, and we hope that the awarding of the Millennium Prize will enable Janet Cardiff to advance further along the paths on which she has boldly embarked," the jury said in a statement released today. The jury, presided by Pierre Théberge, Director, National Gallery of Canada, consisted of representatives from some of the most important art institutions and publications around the world: Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey Art Gallery in New York, Ivo Mesquita, Director, Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo, Brazil, Didier Ottinger, Curator of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Chantal Pontbriand, Editor of Parachute magazine in Montreal.

Elusive Paradise: The Millennium Prize marks the first major project that the National Gallery of Canada Foundation has supported. "The exhibition offered the Foundation the opportunity to support a unique project and be involved in this celebration of excellence in contemporary art from Canada and around the world," commented John Cleghorn, Chair of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. "We extend our congratulations to the recipient of the Millennium Prize, Janet Cardiff, and offer our best wishes to all the participants. We also extend heartfelt thanks to our Circle patrons, who proudly share our passion for the arts."

Janet Cardiff was born in 1957 in Brussels, Ontario and currently lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta. She is a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and received her M.V.A. from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Her audio?based installations and walking pieces have been presented in major international exhibitions and biennials, including NowHere at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark (1996), Sculpture Projects in Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Germany (1997), XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in Brazil (1998), The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1999), 6th International Istanbul Biennial in Turkey (1999), and The Carnegie International '99/00 in Pittsburgh. Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller are Canada's official representation at the 2001 Venice Biennale, where they will be presenting The Last Reel, a new narrative audio walking piece.

"All ten artists in this exhibition have earned the honour of international praise and recognition for their work," said Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. "We are especially grateful to each of them for their participation in the National Gallery of Canada's celebration of excellence in contemporary art. I would also like to thank each of the members of the jury for their time and contribution to this exhibition."

Exhibition Catalogue
A fully-illustrated exhibition catalogue, in separate French and English versions, with essays by Diana Nemiroff, Curator, Modern Art, National Gallery of Canada and guest author Johanne Sloan, will be available in the National Gallery of Canada's Bookstore at the end of March. The catalogue will include a statement from the jury about Janet Cardiff's award-winning work.

Elusive Paradise: The Millennium Prize is on view until 13 May 2001. The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Thursdays until 8 pm. Beginning 1 May, the Gallery will be open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, and Thursdays until 8 pm. (Note: Two concerts in the Concerts aux Beaux-Arts series presented by Radio-Canada 102,5 FM will take place in the Rideau Chapel. Janet Cardiff's piece will not be accessible from 4 pm to 8 pm on Thursday 15 March and Thursday 10 May.)

$12 for adults, $10 for seniors and full-time students with ID, and free for Friends of the NGC and visitors under 12. In celebration of Museum's Day the exhibition will be free to everyone on Sunday 13 May, the last day of the exhibition.

Forty Part Motet on Tour
Janet Cardiff's award-winning installation will be touring to England and New York, including the Salisbury Cathedral, where she recorded the voices.
25 May - 10 June 2001
Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England as part of the Salisbury Festival

14 June - 8 July 2001
The new Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England

15 October 2001 - 2 January 2002
P.S.1Contempoary Art Center, New York

October - November 2002
Now Festival, Nottingham, England

6 December 2002 - 13 January 2003
The New Art Gallery Walsall, Englan

Joanne Charette
Director, Public Affairs
tel. (613) 990-5050
fax (613) 990-9824