I can’t believe I didn’t write about last year’s Turner Prize

So, let’s just ignore 2016, and jump straight to this year: 2017.

Before we jump, however, I will say that all I remember from 2016 is a pair of giant buttocks. I suspect that that magnificent image distracted me from the need to actually write about the giant buttocks (and indeed the works by the other nominated artists). I don’t think the buttocks won, in fact a quick google reveals that they didn’t. 

A giant bottom

The winner last year was Helen Marten, who’s sculptural work is fascinating for it’s pictorial intrigue and use of both found and fabricated objects which are used to express diverse thoughts and ideas. I like anything that blends objects, ideas and images. ‘Objects that blend’ as I have recently written on my studio wall in Wolverhampton. What does that mean? Aha, all will be revealed. 

‘Objects that blend’ on my studio wall

Damn it, I’ve somehow managed now to write about last year’s Turner Prize by talking about not writing about it. Let’s jump now anyway.

The winner of this year’s Turner Prize is due to be announced in two days from now. I hope I will be able to watch the announcement. I will be in Plymouth, imprisoned in the Premier Inn, but I’m sure there will be a TV in the room, so I am hopeful.

Premier Inn in Plymouth – I simply cannot wait

I’ve had a quick look at the nominees and my overall impression is underwhelmment (is that a word?). I wonder, perhaps, whether this is because I cannot find anything that relates to my own practice in the work of the nominees or whether I just don’t feel excited by their work. This feeling isn’t based on quality of the work. In the words of Alan Bennett: ‘You don’t have to like everything’. 

The artwork seems to be much more international in perspective, and more political than previously selected works, yet oddly more mainstream too. I appreciate it all for it’s value and importance, and meaning, yet it just doesn’t excite me.

Here’s an interesting quote from Alex Farquharson, the chair of the Turner Prize judging panel: ‘Perhaps a few years ago we were in that avant-garde narrative of one generation breaking the rules of a previous generation, but I don’t think that’s where we’re at any more. There is a recognition that these newest developments are often from the hands of artists of an older generation.’

I’m not sure I’d describe the nominees work as ‘avant-garde’ having recently read up an awful lot on the topic recently as part of my MA. Original and thought-provoking, perhaps, but not avant-garde. At least, not avant-garde from the traditional understanding of the term.

I’m not going to write about the individual nominees work, as I prefer big buttocks and combinations of eclectic objects turned into sculptures, but I will nevertheless watch with interest to see who wins.

This painting by one of the nominees, Andrea Büttner, intrigues me


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