Call myself a proper artist – I missed the Turner Prize 2014 announcements

I was much shocked and surprised to realise yesterday evening that I’d missed the announcement of the winner of the Turner Prize 2014 this year. Two years’ ago I had been gripped to the TV for the announcement of the winner (Elizabeth Price). This year I was too busy watching The Gilmore Girls to notice the event.

Comfort TV

Comfort TV

I have been living in a bit of a bubble recently, impenetrable by news. I haven’t had time to check the BBC News website or watch the news on TV for weeks.

So today I’ve read up about it, retrospectively. Apparently the art world is underwhelmed by the event. Perhaps that explains their relative silence.

The winner was an artist who is the same age as me, which fills me with hope (maybe it’ll be my turn next year). Duncan Campbell is a video artist from Glasgow. However, reading about his work today I realise that intellectually, he’s on a plane far above me. His video was about objects. Although I am also interested in objects, I can’t compare any messages I hope to spread with his work. He describes his winning piece as an ‘essay film’. I like that.

Duncan Campbell having an arty farty coffee

Duncan Campbell having an arty farty coffee

I also like this comment about him that I read today. Jennifer Higgie, editor of Frieze, said: ‘He’s a really compelling filmmaker. I’ve noticed that when his films are shown in galleries people will sit through 45 minutes and no one will leave.’ In my experience, people in art galleries usually seem to last at most 15 minutes in front of video artwork, so this is high praise I think.

I also like what Campbell said himself about his art: he strives to find what Samuel Beckett termed a ‘form that accommodates the mess’. In other words, the viewer can’t engage with the form of the artwork without a sense of the mess that accommodates it. This gives me something to think about.


Clark, N.  1 December 2014. ‘Turner Prize 2014: Video artist Duncan Campbell wins prestigious award’, The Independent online. Available from: [last accessed 2 December 2014]

BBC News website. 1 December 2014. ‘Turner Prize 2014: Duncan Campbell wins £25,000 prize’. Available from [last accessed 2 December 2014]

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