Yorkshire Sculpture Park has chosen up & coming artist Astrid Butt as the recipient of its 2023 Yorkshire Graduate Award.
Leeds-based Butt intrigued the YSP judges with her use of animal-human hybrid characters to explore womanhood and domestication. She is currently studying for her Master’s degree in Fine Art at University of Leeds and her work utilises the grotesque and surreal to express female anxieties, with a particular focus on generational trauma and the terrors of the body.
Butt’s work takes on a feminist perspective, which she uses to discuss sensitive topics, such as motherhood, domestic abuse and sexual assault. She also recently produced a 10-minuute short film “Bird Diaries” where the central hybrid woman-bird character laments over her relationships with men, women and her own body. The surreal film taps into the Lynchian horror genre, complete with disturbing archive footage and eerie voice-over narration.
The Yorkshire Graduate Award is an annual award that offers a unique residency opportunity for a Yorkshire-based graduate artist to develop and showcase their talent. For over 45 years, residencies have been at the heart of YSP offering opportunities for emerging artists to reflect and move forward with their practice. Set up in 2018, the YGA is specifically aimed at helping to nurture artistic talent across the region.
Butt will now have a residency for up to two weeks at the Park, access to facilities including metal and wood workshops, time with the YSP technical and curatorial teams, as well as receiving a £750 fee and a further £250 for materials to develop new ideas.
“We are delighted to offer the Graduate Award to Astrid and are really looking forward to working with her over the coming months” said Louise Lohr, YSP’s Deputy Curator. “We’re keen to support artists at all stages of their career and acknowledge the particularly challenging transition for new and recent graduates.”
Astrid agreed: “This award means everything to me, to have something I’ve created be recognised and appreciated. It’s extremely validating and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to create more work in such a gorgeous environment. Me, and so many talented artists I know, have great ideas for work, but don’t have the money, the resources, the time, or the space to bring those ideas to fruition. I couldn’t be more thankful to Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the opportunity to bring some of my ideas to life.
She added: “During this residency, my goal is to create my second film. YSP has so much potential and could make a great setting for a film. The huge works that cover the grounds make the setting feel unsettling and almost dystopian. It’s my ultimate goal to create surreal horror films, and I want to use this time to hone my skills as a filmmaker.”
Astrid is inspired by the works of Cecelia Condit and Marianna Simnett, both film and performance artists who work with themes of womanhood and the body. Books by Ottessa Moshfegh have also been a huge inspiration, best known for her grotesque and unlikable female characters.