Say what you like – and people do – the annual Turner Prize is sure to stir up a lively debate. This year leading photographer Mario Testino is to join the line up of presenters, one that in previous years has included agnes b, Yoko Ono, Madonna and Dennis Hopper amongst others. This year’s Turner Prize is held at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead on 5 December 2011, the first time outside London since 2007. And the first time in its history that the prize is being held beyond Tate. The announcement will be broadcast live on Channel 4 as part of a special half-hour programme. The 4 artists nominated are on display at the BALTIC, drawing record crowds all enjoying the art for free. Which is how it should be. Although some wags are pondering whether there would be quite as many if they had to pay the usual £8 entry fee…
Mario Testino said: ‘I draw endless inspiration from the work of other artists so I am honoured to be presenting this year’s Turner Prize. As this is one of the most prestigious prizes in the art world I am pleased that it is not limited to just London and I am delighted to be participating in this years ceremony at Gateshead.’
This year’s prize, sponsored by Channel 4, is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5000 each for the other shortlisted artists. Which are (drum roll):
George Shaw, who presents a selection of recent paintings such as The Age of Bullshit 2010 and Landscape with Dog Shit Bin 2010, alongside several new works. His subject, always the housing estate in which he grew up, is rendered in Humbrol enamel to create timeless scenes that are at once autobiographical and universal. They are familiar to anyone that has experienced poverty firsthand, be that materially or of spirit, yet have an unnerving disquiet. New paintings, including The Devil Made Me Do It, Shut Up and The Same Old Crap (all 2011) continue his investigation of this psychologically charged landscape within seemingly traditional bounds.
Karla Black, who presents two new works that continue her fascination with the possibilities of sculpture and materials. Doesn’t Care In Words 2011 begins with cellophane curtains that partially block the entrance to her gallery. Forced to walk around them, the viewer navigates their paint-encrusted forms before an undulating landscape of paper and powder is revealed. Black uses a plethora of unexpected materials in her work, such as soil, earth, bronzing powder, eyeshadow, nail varnish, moisturizer and even bath bombs! Which are used on a grand scale in her larger-than-life installations. Juror Godfrey Worsdale, director of BALTIC, said her work could be compared to that of the abstract expressionists, inasmuch that Karla Black hurling cosmetic products across a surface is comparable to the way Jackson Pollock cast paint over canvas. More Of The Day 2011, made of coloured cellophane, is suspended from the ceiling as something between a painting and a sculpture. In Black’s immersive and sensory environments, ethereal colour, form and scale are foregrounded, prioritising material experience over language.
Martin Boyce, who presents a selection of works including Do Words Have Voices 2011, a sculpture inspired by a library table designed by Jean Prouvé for the Maison de l’Etudiant in Paris and Beyond the Repetition of High Windows, Intersecting Flight Paths and Opinions (A Silent Storm is Painted on the Air), an architectural intervention made for the exhibition. Suspended from the ceiling, the leaf-like forms that hang from this new work are drawn from the designs of Jöel and Jan Martel. Creating a landscape in the gallery, Boyce’s works interrogate urban forms along with the history of Modernist design and its working processes.
Hilary Lloyd, who presents Shirt 2011, Tower Block 2011 and Moon 2011 along with Floor 2011, made for the exhibition. Moon, presented on two LCD monitors, brings multiple shots, ordered within a grid, of the moon passing behind a clock tower. Floor, a three-channel projection of abutted images of a floor, jolts and pulsates, each one repeating endlessly. Lloyd’s hyper-aesthetic images are drawn from a very everyday world. She investigates perception, questioning how the act of looking is shaped and constructed. Her modes of presentation are as vital as the images themselves. Projectors, monitors and their supports bring a sculptural presence that controls viewers’ navigation of the gallery.
The Prize, established in 1984, is awarded to a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 4 April 2011. It aims to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art and is widely recognised as one of the most important and prestigious awards for the visual arts in Europe.
Turner Prize exhibition is on display till 8th January 2012
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
South Shore Road
Words by Anna Bang
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