Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Turner Prize 2013

December means one thing for contemporary art: The Turner Prize. Established in 1984, the Turner Prize has been awarded every year to a contemporary British artist, under the age of 50. The nominated artists this year are David Shrigley with his darkly comic drawings and objects - of which the headless ostrich above is one; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's imaginary portraits are created as an alternative outlet for her writing; Laure Prouvost's playful, personal and sensory film/installation work; and Tino Seghal's 'experience' that engulfs and engages with the visitor in the pitch black. Tate has put together a selection of films featuring the artists and their works that can be viewed here.

Jude Law presented the award to last year's winner, Elizabeth Price. Although Jude is normally a welcome face on screen, his presence here did feel a bit... well, random. However he did made a convincing speech about the place of art in British education, focussing on the government's cuts in art eduction within schools. As he puts it, "If we deprive a generation of cultural skills, we lose a generation of cultural leaders."

The Turner Prize has had an undoubtedly positive effect on the British consciousness, in that it creates huge publicity and discussion around art institutions, art education and contemporary art. Those who might not be inclined to ordinarily visit an art gallery suddenly might be. However one of the most thought-provoking things to come out of the Turner Prize is the big questions it raises about modern art: what kind of art is being produced in 2013? What kind of art do we want to consume, and what makes us feel uncomfortable? Elephant dung, a certain unmade bed and a plain room in which the lights switched on and off have all been featured by the competition. It is, inevitably, shrouded in controversy.

Banksy's opinion on the Turner Prize, stencilled onto the steps of the Tate.

Matthew Collings, who received a commendation by the prize for his work in 1997, wrote an article three years later and made comment on the status of contemporary art and the Turner Prize.

"Today's art isn't about intensity on any level and no one expects it to be... The art has shocks to make it noticeable, and the shocks are often funny, or at least they make sense. Anyone can get this art, after the initial jarring feeling... Turner Prize art is based on a formula where something looks startling at first and then turns out to be expressing some kind of banal idea, which somebody will be sure to tell you about. The ideas are never important or even really ideas, more notions, like the notions in advertising... Today's art is a kind of hell."

Tune in to the presentation of the awards, this Monday 2nd December, at 7.30 on Channel 4 and you can form (or confirm) your own opinions on the works and on the competition as a whole. The work will also be on exhibition for the first time outside of England - in Derry-Londonderry until the 5th January 2013.


No comments:

Post a Comment