Alice Couttoupes has been awarded the 2018 Eva Breuer Travelling Art Scholarship, which will see her take up a three-month residency at the Dr Denise Hickey Memorial Studio in Paris and receive a $25,000 stipend for any travel and living expenses associated with the residency.

A young Australian artist, Couttoupes works primarily with vitrified and raw clay. With a particular focus on the sociocultural and political ideas that inform our interaction with nature, the scholarship provides her with the opportunity to expand her research.

“In Paris I plan to examine the trope of ‘mastery over nature’ by looking at French formal garden design – such as Versailles – as a socially and culturally symbolic space. Control and surveillance of nature was a prominent feature of French formal gardens, and that is what I intend to explore and respond to in my new work,” Couttoupes said.

Established in 2015, the recipient of the scholarship is selected from one of the female winners of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ existing residency scholarships.

AGNSW director Michael Brand said the scholarship was a fitting tribute to Eva Breuer, and that the “benefit of new perspectives for young artists cannot be underestimated.”

Couttoupes is particularly interested in the categorisations and systems of meaning that are applied to nature, as well as processes of cultural exchange and appropriation, authenticity, ideas of place, belonging, materiality, object-hood, and notions of identity.

“To date, the majority of my work has explored these ideas within the Australian context, so the opportunity to stay in Paris and expand the scope of my research will be hugely beneficial and rewarding. I will continue a recent exploration of working in unfired clay as well as experimenting with new materials in my work – such as mirrors, water, pipes, marble, leather and rope,” added Couttoupes.