Carpet installation wins $20k drawing prize

It's an age old question we continue to ponder: What actually defines art?

A $20,000 drawing prize was awarded to an installation made of carpet on Tuesday night.

'State Block' is suspended from the roof at a height of almost 5m.

Artist Kirsty Lillico says it's abstract. "It's based on a modernist apartment block in Auckland on Symonds St, and it explores the legacy of modernist architecture," she told Newshub.

Ms Lillico says there's more to the hanging carpet than you might think.

"I guess I sort of think about how we occupy space in buildings, and that's the kind of space we occupy, and these are the walls and everything else," Lillico said.

The Parkin prize is given out for exceptional drawings. This year 500 entries were whittled down to 80 for the exhibition.

And if you don't think carpet should count, let alone win, the Wellington judges think you're wrong.

Founder Chris Parkin says he "doesn't care" if people are critical of the piece.

"I mean at the end of the day you put a knife into a bit of carpet, you actually draw a line," he told Newshub.

"That line wanders, it creates an image."

He also points out it might come in handy later - for him to use.

"We've got the same make of carpet in our house so I suppose if we get a bit short or a few holes, we can always put that down," Mr Parkin joked.

For Ms Lillico, the win was her third time lucky - this really was a magic carpet.

She says her victory will spark debate. It might also inspire carpet layers around the country.