The Turner Prize is an important event on the art calendar. It is a Tate organised annual prize which is presented to a British visual artist. It was named after “J.M.W. Turner”, a painter, who was the first recipient of the award in 1984. It’s seem as controversial but arguably it’s the most prestigious art award in the UK, if not internationally. It is presented to a British artist, under the age of 50, for their “outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding”. The winner is chosen by a panel of four judges (each of which are invited by the Tate to be there) and chaired by the director of Tate Britain. Previous winners have included Grayson Perry, Steve McQueen and Gillian Wearing. In 1999, Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” lost out to a Steve McQueen video.
Every other year, the prize is presented at a venue outside London as opposed to at the Tate Britain. This years event was held, for the first time, in Scotland (at the Tramway in Glasgow, an international arts-space for contemporary art projects) on the 7th December 2015. The prize award was £40,000 (£25,000 of which goes to the winner and £5,000 to each shortlisted artist). The shortlisted artists were Assemble, Bonnie Camplin, Janice Kerbel, and Nicole Wermers.
Bonnie Camplin’s work ranges from drawing, film, performance, writing and music. She also does a wide and extensive range of research before coming up with ideas that conform under her idea of “The Invented Life”. Which Camplin believes is powered by the idea of “myth-science of energy and consciousness research” in which subjective experience is evidence. Her nominated piece was a study room- “The Military Industrial Complex”- and explored what ‘consensus reality’ is and how it is formed. She looked at and drew from physics, psychology, philosophy, witchcraft, quantum theory and welfare to do this.
I found the installation compelling and fascinating. It allows the mind to wonder and imagine. I love the way a lot is left to the viewers interpretation but in fact every piece is placed as a result of extensive research and experimenting in order to fit her own brief. Camplin doesn’t “see art as a mouthpiece” for her opinions and is simply “open to these truth of these testimonies”.
Wermers was nominated for her installation entitled “Infrastruktur”. It’s essentially an exhibition which focuses on how, even though most things have “structure”, many lack “infrastructure”. Part of this installation saw a cluster of silk lined fur coats hung off the back of chairs (Untitled Chairs) but it is emphasised that it is not an exhibition about fashion . The piece saw the ideas of modernist design and high fashion (hence the coats) intertwined with the idea of lifestyle and class, as well as lesser pleasant (or lesser sought after things), like control.
As soon as I saw the piece I was instantly engaged and excited by it’s mysterious nature. I think it’s wholly fascinating and visually stimulating as it’s unusual and makes you think. I think Wermers has used space well in order to portray an element of the lack of physical life but there is an element intended human intervention with the idea of ownership and the coat owners “owning” the chair their coat is placed on- it’s something I’m intrigued and inspired by.
This, like the other artists covered so far, is something quite unique and unusal (and the reason, I suppose, such prizes exist). Kerbel has created “Doug”- a twenty-five minute, nine-movement work for six singers. It’s only been performed completely once- with no current intention to ever be recorded or really be performed again (posing questions of how she’d have presented it at the Tate gallery if she’d have one)- at Mitchell Library, in Glasgow. With no real understanding of music but a desire to “write a work for voice” Kerbel created “Doug” in a language of music (a language which she was unfamiliar with previously).
I’m fascinated by Kerbel’s work. I’m intrigued as to how it would sound and work as a piece- I’d love to hear it! I love the way she has used music as an art form for recognition in such a prestigious way. I love music, as well as art, so I feel some sort of connection to this piece in a way of which I’m extremely interested to see what Kerbel has done.
THE 2015 TURNER PRIZE WINNER… ASSEMBLE
Assemble won the 2015 Turner Prize. They’re a London-based group who work within communities on projects marrying the ideas of art and design with architecture. These buildings are used and inhabited by real people and real communities so become quite personal- there’s a clear meaning and message within the art. It boasts a DIY attitude which can be radiated throughout communities but they’re wary of their current work not being seen as an “art” installation.
I love the idea that it’s art with an explicit meaning. It’s not sugar coated necessarily, in as much that it’s helping a community directly and very obviously as opposed to just art in a gallery or an exhibition. It’s directly affecting the people who create it and it has a huge impact on real people’s lives. It’s a worthy winner and that’s argued by the outstanding work it’s achieving within London communities as a result- It got the recognition it deserves.