Skip to Content

Max Mara, known for its timeless sensibility and classic silhouettes, has championed women artists in the UK over the years celebrating their contribution to contemporary art.  In May, the fashion house unveiled a major film and installation commission by Corin Sworn, the latest recipient of the prestigious Max Mara Art Prize for Women.

Corin Sworn Max Mara Art Prize

Photo: Corin Sworn, Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Installation view at Whitechapel Gallery, London, May 2015, Photo Stephen White, Courtesy Whitechapel Gallery

Presently on view at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and in October 2015 at Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, the award-winning work is a culmination of Sworn’s six-month residency in Rome, Naples and Venice.  Based in Glasgow by way of Canada, the artist is only the fifth to receive this honor.  Incomparable attention to detail and a curious mind guided her journey through the rich history of Commedia dell’ Arte – theatrical comedies that originated in the 16th Century, performed by touring troupes of actors. 

Corin Sworn Details

Photo: Corin Sworn details

Sworn took a holistic approach in her study, investigating beyond the artifice and aesthetics of the genre.  Architecture, sculpture, textiles and costume have each played a leading role in the evolution of commedia, and helped guide the artist as she traced its path through time.  Sworn seemed particularly interested in the rare manuscripts of traditional plays, and visited, among several sites, the oldest trompe-l’oeil set in the world at Teatro Olympico.  Drawing from Commedia dell’Arte experts such as teacher and artist Antonio Fava, critic and curator Pier Paolo Pancotto, and actor Gianni de Luigi, award-winning poet and collaborator Lisa Robertson described Sworn as “both loose and thorough in a way that is extremely stimulating to work with.”

The Max Mara Art Prize for Women was established in 2005, in a partnership between Collezione Maramotti, Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery. For more information, visit the website at

Back to top