The announcement of the shortlist for the 30th Turner Prize was made last week, and, as ever, it was met with a strident wall of comment. First and foremost on the critical agenda was the fact that nowhere among the contenders could be found a “traditional” artist, with neither painting nor sculpture having a representative. Who knows what this “means for British art” but what is clear is that, as technology advances apace, the spectrum of artistic creativity expands into once inconceivable possibilities. Also, with two of the artists emerging from Glasgow School of Art, and another a Canadian who has taken up residence in Glasgow, once again a Scottish winner is looking likely. Should this be the case, it will be the seventh Scottish victor since 1996, raising the question of what the Turner Prize will do for winners should the Scots vote in favour of Independence.
So, in advance of the victory announcement in December this year, and to help you work out who you want to win, we consider the four nominees and their work.
Nominated for his work that first showed at 2013’s Venice Biennale, Richards has been dubbed a Youtube artist, as he sculpts his video works using both footage found on the internet and what he has filmed himself. His piece Rosebud features erotic images and clips – including works by Mapplethorpe and the like – sourced from the Tokyo library, where the genitalia had been scratched out in accordance with decency laws.
Canadian born, but now based in Glasgow, Phillips is nominated for Workshop, a two month project which explored the collaborative process of printing and production by asking a range of artists, designers and women’s groups to contribute to printed works, allowing the artist to consider the potential of “working together” and what that creates.
Another artist nominated for a work that first showed at 2013’s Venice Biennale, Campbell comes to the Turner list via Glasgow School of Art, and through inspiration borne by the likes of the late Chris Marker and Alan Renais. His video piece It for Others, muses on the creation and truth of history, using found and new footage, including an original dance work by Michael Clark.
Another graduate from the Glasgow School of Art, Vonna-Michell’s work weaves together spoken word narratives, slide shows, photography and performance to create immersive story telling experiences. He is nominated for his work Postscript II (Berlin), a fragmented, poetic piece incorporating his parent’s biographies, personal experiences and fictional strands into a truly unusual artistic encounter.
The winner of the 2014 Turner Prize will be announced on December 1.