The Artists nominated for the Turner Prize 2012 unveiled their work today, at Tate Britain, in an exhibition which questions your sensibilities and again challenges your perceptions of boundaries in contemporary art. The exhibition was broken down into six rooms featuring the work by the four shortlisted artists: Paul Noble, Luke Fowler, Spartacus Chetwynd and Elizabeth Price (in that order).
Turner Prize 2012 The first room is reserved for quite a traditional display of wall art and related small scaled sculpture. The Large graphite drawings by Paul Noble portray a mystical village called Nobson Newtown. It is the kind of place where Max Ernst meets M C Esher in a Henry Moore dreamscape. A group of hybrid sculptures accompany the pieces on the walls. They also borrow from Ernst and add in a touch of Joan Miro. It is work from another period and time and references more then creates. This is not a ground breaking original statement. They are however, accomplished and pleasant enough contenders.
Luke Fowler, Turner Prize 2012, is next up and exhibits his film All Divided Selves 2011, an exploration of the thoughts and legacies of the Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing (1927-89). The film presents a collage of archival material, in which the audience becomes a witness to a series of psychiatric sessions. Fowler also displays a series of small double framed photographs, Two Frame Film 2006 is reminiscent of film montage. The film’s content is a study of sanity vs madness. The cast of disturbed extras, expose Laing as just another unstable and vulnerable man. It leaves you with the feeling that you are at the mercy of the psychiatrist and could be sectioned, should he wake up on the wrong side of bed. This installation is not outstanding in any way, shape or form. The film is not moving or particularly intriguing. I will need to give this one a second viewing in case I missed something.
Spartacus Chetwynd ,Turner Prize 2012, on the other hand recreates highlights from her nominated exhibition ‘Odd Man Out’ 2011 which addressed ideas of democracy and the consequences of decision making. In live performances that run from 12:00-17:00 daily visitors will be invited to present themselves to ‘the oracle’ for a pronouncement on their future actions and to watch a puppet show of the tale of Jesus and Barrabas. Footage from past performances are also included. Drawing from art history, literature, film and television, Chetwynd’s carnivalesque live events dissolve the boundary between spectator and participant. This entrant is perhaps the most memorable with it’s taped together stage set and rickety scaffolding. The performers are all friends and family of the artist, who lives in a nudest commune, has a love for puppetry and actually knows how to fill a space with visually stimulating action packed expression.
Elizabeth Price, Turner Prize 2012, presents her video installation THE WOOLWORTHS CHOIR OF 1979, 2012. Comprising three parts, the video brings together distinct bodies of material into a dissonant assembly; photographs of church architecture, internet clips of Girl Group performances and news footage of a notorious fire in a Woolworths furniture department in 1979. Price weaves together existing archives of text, image and sound to create video installations that drift between social history and fantasy.
The prize winner will be chosen by a jury made up of: Andrew Hunt, Director, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea; Heike Munder, Director, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; Mark Sladen, Director, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen and Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain and Chair of the Jury. jury member Michael Stanley, Director, Modern Art Oxford, tragically died on 21 September. It is not known whether a replacement will be found.
The Turner Prize was established in 1984 and is awarded to a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 24 April 2012. It is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art and is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious awards for the visual arts in the world.
The winner of the prize will be announced during a live broadcast of the award ceremony on Channel 4, as part of a special half-hour programme, on the evening of Monday 3 December 2012 by actor Jude Law. This year’s prize fund, supported by Channel 4, is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists. Watch this website for complete coverage of all Turner Prize events.
Photos: P C Robinson © ArtLyst 2012