This year’s Turner Prize winner 2018 has been awarded to Charlotte Prodger a Glasgow-based video artist whose work deals with identity and place. She was nominated for her solo exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall. Prodger, who won the 2017 Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award used an iPhone to create her entire Turner Prize shortlisted artwork which shifts subjectively between landscape and snippets of her daily life. She explores technology and the body, queerness through community, language and loss.
2018 marks the first video-only shortlist since the award started in 1984
Prodger, who will represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale, used the podium to thank public funding in Scotland for making her career possible, “I wouldn’t be in this room were it not for the public funding that I received from Scotland for free higher education and then later in the form of artist bursaries and grants to support not only the production of work but also living costs”
The Turner Prize has had a stellar success rate in propelling artists onto the international stage. Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, and Antony Gormley have all won this award, and it hasn’t hurt their careers one bit, in fact, it’s helped make them household names. This year, what used to be an important annual event on Channel 4 and then a half hour feature on BBC 4 was challenging to find on BBC News 24.
2018 marks the first video-only shortlist since the award started in 1984. The selection of four video artists has been controversial within the art community. “The gallery audience of today is not going to sit on there bums for a total of five hours and watch video art. It may work for an audience drawn to attend a top-class performance of Tristan and Isolde, but exhibition visitors behave in a different way. They look, retreat, change angles, look again, move on restlessly to the next thing, the next image. And they want to become engaged in an almost physical way, as one can see from other, related spheres of activity. not ably the vast worldwide sphere of immersive video games/ There you don’t just LOOK at the work, you BECOME PART OF IT. That’s very contemporary, very much in step with how the audience feels and behaves in other spheres, says senior art critic Edward Lucie-Smith.
This year the public has voted with their feet, making it the least attended ticketed Turner Prize exhibition in history. It’s a no-brainer as to why, with some of the videos on display running for an hour and a half, it would take the average gallery-goer four to five hours to plough through works with earnest titles such as Tripoli Cancelled, Human 2018, BRIDGIT 2016 and Killing in Umm al-Hiran, 18 January 2017. Not to mention, the cost for the privilege of sitting in a dark claustrophobic room is £11 – £10 for students…
This may be the most overtly political Turner Prize in terms of content, but with Brexit and Trump, we actually need some escapism. Like Hollywood during the depression, bring back Christian Marclay’s The Clock, please…
The Turner Prize was created to test our perceptions of what visual art is all about in Britain today. This year’s nominees are Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson. The moving image-heavy shortlist takes some time to digest.
Two films, by the same artist, are over an hour and a half long (each) Patience, my friends. The exhibition lacks a balanced overview of the disciplines. An unsuspecting member of the public might get the impression that painting, sculpture and installation art, which the Turner has been heavy on in the last few years, no longer existed. This year’s exhibition is not for everyone, but it does have some redeeming factors if you let yourself open up to the work on display.
Tate Britain’s director Alex Farquharson stated, “The artists shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize are tackling some of today’s most important issues, from queer identity, human-rights abuse and police brutality, to post-colonial migration and the legacy of liberation movements”.
Forensic Architecture, was the bookies favourite. They are a collective of architects, researchers and filmmakers based at Goldsmiths College in London. Their work visualises evidence relating to global human rights abuses. They have been nominated for their exhibitions at the ICA, London, MACBA Barcelona and MUAC Mexico. Their video explores the destruction of a Bedouin village torn down to make way for an Israeli settlement. The action takes place on a curved wall/screen while the iPhone style handheld footage jumps along fading to black and then flashing like a flickering fire. All with a soundtrack of shouts, screams and interview dialogue. I don’t know if this wouldn’t look more at home on Channel 4 than in a gallery.
Naeem Mohaiemen was born in London but based in Dakar and New York. The work was shown in both the Athens and Kassel iterations of Documenta, as well as being the subject of a solo show at MoMA PS1 in New York. It reflects on history and the place of individuals within global narratives. I quite enjoyed the story behind this work. It follows the story of a Palestinian man who loses his passport and winds up in a ‘The Terminal’ (film) scenario in a Greek airport. You follow the narrative of what it feels like being nationless, as you progress through two frustrating weeks with the Palestinian and Greek bureaucracies as they deal with the process of issuing a new passport, while the main character rattles around an airport.
Charlotte Prodger is a Glasgow-based video artist who works primarily with an iPhone to create her highly personal videos about queer identity and isolation.
Luke Willis Thompson is a London-based New Zealander nominated for his show at the Chisenhale, London, in which he exhibited a silent filmic portrait in black and white of Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, who was killed by Minnesota police in 2016. Thompson refers to works such as Andy Warhol’s black and white screen tests from 1964-1966. Autoportrait was produced during his residency at the Chisenhale Gallery in 2016-2017. For me, this work is the most visually successful of all the candidates on offer.
The jury this year brought together Elena Filipovic, director of Kunsthalle Basel; Lisa Le Feuvre, executive director of the Holt-Smithson Foundation; Tom McCarthy, novelist and visiting professor, Royal College of Art; and ArtReview’s international editor Oliver Basciano.
Each nominated artist received £5,000, with the first prize winner gaining an additional £25,000. The prize is open to British-born or -based artists. In 2017 the upper age limit of 50 was removed, though, at 49, Mohaiemen was the oldest artist in contention this year.
The jury for the 2019 prize which will be held at Turner Contemporary in Margate has been named as Alessio Antoniolli, director, Gasworks, London; Elvira Dyangani Ose, senior curator at Creative Time, New York, and lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, London; the writer Charlie Porter and Victoria Pomery, director of Turner Contemporary in Margate.
The exhibition for the Turner Prize 2018 shortlist is open to the public at Tate Britain until 6 January 2019.