Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Turner Prize 2004

A rather uninspiring Turner prize shortlist has been announced; on first glance it is pretty straightforward, uninspiring stuff - nothing as dazzling and wonderful as the Chapmans' exhibit last year (and plenty as unimpressive as Grayson Perry's). There's a feature displaying several works by the nominated artists on the Guardian, but it doesn't give much away - not a single work is aesthetically pleasing.

Of the nominated artists, I'd hope that the decision would rest between Jeremy Deller and Langlands and Bell. The former, like all four of the artists, is avowedly political; a video artist whose films reference George Bush and Texas as well as the Miner's Strike, which he memorably recreated using military re-enactment societies and former miners. Langlands and Bell look reasonably interesting, if not exactly exciting. Their recent work includes a project 'The House of Osama Bin Laden' which is, apparently, "an interactive virtual reality model of an abandoned house in Afghanistan". I'm not quite sure what that means...

The Guardian says that "Yinka Shonibare is shortlisted for his sculptural installations in which he uses African fabric to subvert conventional readings of cultural identity". That's as maybe, but the pictures I've seen of his stuff are just vile, and I would like to stress that I do not mean that in the same way that Thatcher meant her covering up of the African print on the British Airways model all those years ago:

I feel we have a Grayson Perry situation developing here, mind... Shonibare does at least make art which one feels like one could reach out and touch - often important. I suspect the public may make more of his exhibition than his contemporaries.

Kutlug Ataman apparently makes eight hour films about life in Turkey. I mean, very well, but whatever happened to art as immediate, sudden, even (and I use this word advisedly given the path it has led much modern art down in recent years) shocking? Well, I won't pass judgement on Ataman 'til I've seen a bit of his films, but it all rather makes one yearn for Jake and Dinos, no?

Update: Jeremy Deller won. Good.

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