On Tuesday evening I was lucky enough to attend a private viewing of the Turner Prize nominees at the Tate Britain, curtsey of The Guardian, who gave away 100 pairs of tickets in an online competition.
Before I went I had read up about the entrants and had my ideas about who I would most likely go for, but after visiting I had completely changed my mind, here’s my thoughts on this years nominees:
I’ll be honest, I thought that Paul Noble would be my favourite artist. I don’t normally favor video or performance Art over drawings and sculpture, but that wasn’t the case on this occasion. I was interested to step into the world of Nobson Newtown. The size and scale of Noble’s intricate self-created worlds where impressive, the landscapes were eery and vast but I’m sad to say that I didn’t really connect with them.
Lali Chetwynd (or should I say Spartacus), is not actually a man with a beard as it may seem – but a female performance artist. All of the above have made for much media attention and certainly makes her stand out as a nomination this year. I was intrigued to find out what all this was about, it certainly isn’t your standard entry after all.
I actually found it hard to judge this one, I wasn’t able to see a live performance which made it difficult to form an opinion. As an outsider looking in on a video clip on a tiny television surrounded my loud posters and a huge inflatable slide it all appears a bit ludicrous. Having said that I’m not sure what it would be like to be involved.
Compared with the other entrants I thought it was light-hearted and a bit of fun but I’m not sure the participation element really works. The performers look like they are having a great time but some members of the audience do look a bit bewildered!
The Woolworths Choir of 1979, exhibited by Elizabeth Price is a powerful and meaningful piece of video art which moves quickly and is clear in its narrative. Most of the reviews I had read prior to my visit had favored Elizabeth Price and I can see why, the video was captivating and compelling. It draws you into her re-told account of the Woolworths fire which includes video and imagery of 60’s girl bands and church architecture. The whole video is moved along by loud clapping, which really brings the piece together. I believe Elizabeth Price would be a deserving winner, but for me not quite my favourite of the four.
My favourite of the four was Luke Fowler’s video documentary piece, All Divided Selves. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to watch the whole film which is 90 minutes long, but what I did see I found very intriguing. A thought-provoking documentary which moved at the perfect pace, giving enough space for the audience to process the information. The film combines recently shot imagery with footage of so-called anti-psychiatrist R D Laing, approaching a deeply challenging subject and highlighting societies ever-changing view on the subject of mental health. The subject is a difficult one to tackle and one that I am very interested in. I was pleased to see art tackle the subject of mental health and this beautifully shot documentary gets my vote for that reason.
But who get’s your vote?