Turner Prize 2012 Artists A Rather Good Mixture

Ryan Gander Overlooked For Turner Prize 2012

The nominees for the distinguished Tuner Prize were announced today and include an eccentric collection of multitalented artists; Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler, Paul Noble, and Elizabeth Price. But where is Ryan Gander?

Tate Britain director Penelope Curtis has described the shortlist as a “rather good mixture,” balanced both in gender and artistic practices. As is customary, all the artists have been selected on the back of an “outstanding” exhibition in the twelve months up to April 24, 2012.

Of the four shortlisted artists, performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd is the one who has received the most media attention. The first performance artist to be ever be shortlisted, her practice consists of live re-enactments and re-imaginings of iconic movie moments, with works such as ‘An Evening with Jabba The Hutt’, all delivered with (in the artist’s own words) an ‘unbridled enthusiasm’.

Paul Noble has been nominated for his exhibition at Gagosian, which presented intricate and Escherian depictions of the fictive world ‘Nobson Newtown’ – a disconcerting world, in which classical topography is fused with cartoonish iconography, and all is a-topsy-turvy – where a walled compound balustraded by shards of broken glass can be labelled ‘Heaven’, and a parallel area encased in ornate ironmongery labelled ‘Hell’.

Luke Fowler is a Glaswegian artist who was nominated for his short film that explores the life of Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing. Elizabeth Price is also a video artist and makes films with no narrative or human presence but where objects take centre-stage in an exploration of the consumer culture.

But many will be disappointed that Ryan Gander has again been overlooked this year – a travesty especially given the brilliance of his Artangel commission Locked Door Scenario. This piece was immediately unnerving, consisting of dark corridors and dead ends that encase a forbidden central space, the contents of which can only be glimpsed through slatted blinds or boarded up windows – with fragmentary glances granted of what appears to be an exhibition mid-installation,  unready, unwilling to be seen. Most overwhelming, was that constant nagging feeling that you shouldn’t be there: the sensation that you have simply come to the wrong place was meticulously created via a vast number of devices – the timed entry system which forces the viewer to go it alone; the unseen radios eerily left blaring, or the dripping of taps in pitch black toilets which suggest that you are not alone; and even a shadowy figure silently in action behind a frosted door, completely unresponsive to your knock.

The Turner Prize was created by a group called the New Patrons of Art in 1982 and were originally formulated to acquire new art for the Tate Gallery’s collection. They chose their name based on JMW Turner who had ambitions of creating a prize for up-and-coming artists and was considered at the time a controversial character. Following in his philosophy previous Turner Prize winners have created a great deal of rumpus within the art world, as well as among mainstream press.

The recognition surrounding the Turner Prize is not only limited to the winner. Previous artists shortlisted have received a great deal of coverage, such was the case for Tracey Emin. Previous winners of the award include Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, and Gillian Wearing. The Turner Prize exhibition will run at the Tate Britain from 20 October 2012 – 20 January 2013 and the winner will be announced live on Channel 4 on 3 December. 

Words: Portia Petterson © 2012 ArtLyst

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