By Naomi Barling
The much-anticipated Turner prize 2015 shortlist has been announced at Tramway in Glasgow, the venue for this year’s competition, and there are three women, and a housing estate involved. Some critics felt that last year’s Turner prize was too obscure and ungraspable, so we are sure this year’s housing estate will bring a few questions like: “does that qualify as Art?” The Turner prize exhibition will take place from October 1, 2015, with the £40,000 winner announced on 7 December 2015.
The Turner Prize was named after the painter J. M. W. Turner and is an annual prize awarded to a British visual artist under the age of 50. Since it’s beginnings in 1984 it has become the United Kingdom’s most publicized art award. The award represents all form of art and always aims to challenge people perception on contemporary and modern art.
Penelope Curtis, the soon-to-depart director of Tate Britain, chaired the judging panel. She acknowledged the shortlisting was a difficult process: “I think the prize has become more serious. It has lost some of the sensational aspects it had earlier, and that’s good. In the early days one of the aims was to increase the quality of discussion about contemporary art and I think it has – it’s not so simplistic any more. These artists are posing questions that are hard for all of us,” Says Curtis.
It seems political art will dominate this year’s Turner prize. All four nominees have a running theme; the desire to make the world around them a better place. Unlike last year’s Turner prize, which was won by the film-maker Duncan Campbell, none of the artists from this years line up are especially famous.
The shortlist includes a direct action collective called Assemble made up of 18 young designers and architecture graduates under 30, who have helped restore a rundown housing estate in Liverpool. The group has worked with residents of the Granby Four Streets area to bring new life to the community. “In an age when anything can be art, why not have a housing estate?” says judge Alistair Hudson, who is the director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. “This is what’s happening; it is working away from art as entertainment. These are artists working in very specific circumstances to make something happen, to make something change. It’s very positive for the future of art – they are trying to do something rather than just represent something,” Says Hudson
The other artists shortlisted are all women who live and work in London. Bonnie Camplin is a 44 year-old fine art lecturer at Goldsmiths in London. She is shortlisted for her project The Military Industrial Complex at South London Gallery. Camplin describes her practice as “the invented Life”. The project invited visitors to explore the meaning of consensual reality, particularly with regard to mental health, while in a slightly dull-looking study room.
Janice Kerbel is a 45 year-old native Canadian who studied for her MA at Goldsmiths in London. Her work Doug was a one-off operatic performance that was commissioned by the Common Guild Glasgow and performed in the city’s Mitchell Library. The piece revolved around a character called Doug who experiences nine catastrophic events.
Nicole Wermers is a 43 year-old artist from Germany. She caught the eye of judges with an actual art exhibition unlike the other three nominees’ more abstract pieces. Her show Infrastruktur was showcased at Herald St gallery in Bethnal Green. It featured Marcel Breuer chairs with fur coats sewn into them. The work aimed to explore the relationship between design and taste and how we judge things and people by what they look like.
As well as Hudson and Curtis, the 2015 panel includes Kyla McDonald, the artistic director of Glasgow Sculpture Studios; Joanna Mytkowska, director of the Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej in Warsaw, Poland; and the critic and curator Jan Verwoert.
The artists are now working on their pieces for the Turner prize exhibition, which will take place from 1 October – 17 January 2015, with the announced on 7 December 2015.