Entertainment & Arts

Anthony Burgess tribute film wins £40,000 art prize

Anthony Burgess
Image caption Burgess was once thrown out of the Whitworth gallery for 'sucking on the marble breast of a Greek goddess'

Author Anthony Burgess will be honoured in his home city of Manchester after a plan to make a film inspired by the writer won a £40,000 art award.

Artists Stephen Sutcliffe and Graham Eatough won the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award on Monday along with Manchester's Whitworth gallery.

Burgess was best known for his 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange.

Sutcliffe and Eatough's film will be shown at the Whitworth to mark the centenary of Burgess' birth in 2017.

The writer, who grew up in nearby Moss Side, visited the gallery in his youth - but recounted in his autobiography how he was once thrown out for "sucking on the marble breast of a Greek goddess".

Image copyright Ewan Jones Morris
Image caption Stephen Sutcliffe and Graham Eatough said they will explore the cultural figure of 'the artist'

In all, Burgess wrote 33 novels, 25 works of non-fiction, two volumes of autobiography, three symphonies and more than 250 other musical works.

But he is best remembered for A Clockwork Orange, which gained notoriety after being turned into a film by Stanley Kubrick, and which Burgess later said was his least favourite work.

Sutcliffe and Eatough's film will be paid for with the prize money from the Contemporary Art Society award, which is given to a different museum or gallery every year to create "an ambitious work of contemporary art of national importance".

Contemporary Art Society director Caroline Douglas said: "The proposal stood out as a project we all want to see, for its inventiveness and genuine connections to Manchester through author Anthony Burgess.

"We are delighted to be supporting these artists at what appears to be a moment of significant development in their careers and to enable the commission of a work whose themes will resonate with the Whitworth's existing collections."

'Humorous and ambitious'

The film will enter the Whitworth's collection and the gallery's director Maria Balshaw described it as a "clever, humorous and ambitious commission".

She added: "Together Graham and Stephen will highlight the work of a great, but unsung, Mancunian hero, Anthony Burgess, in a film work that will use the city where he grew up and studied as set, prop and cast."

Sutcliffe and Eatough's film will take inspiration from the first and last chapters of Burgess's four novels about the fictional poet Francis Xavier Enderby.

The two-part film will reflect on the difference between an artist's public profile and private personality.

The award comes days after the Whitworth received a donation of six works by contemporary artists including Tracey Emin and Gilbert & George.

The gallery reopened earlier this year after a £15m redevelopment, leading it to be crowned museum of the year by The Art Fund and be shortlisted for the UK's top architecture award, the Stirling Prize.

Also on Monday, Maria Balshaw was named personality of the year in Apollo art magazine's annual awards.

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