29 Sep 2014

Turner Prize 2014 reveals ‘fundamental shift’ in art

Now in its 30th year, the annual Turner Prize exhibition opens on Tuesday and features a wealth of multi-media material from four shortlisted artists. Here’s a sneak peek at what is on offer.

The four artists shortlisted for the 2014 Turner Prize were announced back in May, but the complete exhibition was revealed for the first time on Monday before it opens to the public on 30 September.

Three of the four artists shortlisted for Britain’s leading contemporary art prize studied at Glasgow’s famous School of Art, and three of them are also presenting video as part of their submission.

Unlike previous years, where performance artists, dead sharks and “poo” were the order of the day, 2014’s exhibition may not have the initial shock factor that punters have come to expect.

It’s impossible to ignore the fact that we have three artists on the list who are using audio-visual work, and you have to ask, well, why is that? Lizzie Carey-Thomas

But Lizzie Carey-Thomas, curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain, told Channel 4 News that all the shortlisted artists were very engaged in the real world (see video above), and said the fact that audio and visual work is so prominent showed a “fundamental shift” in the way artists are making work.

“It’s impossible to ignore the fact that we have three artists on the list who are using audio-visual work, and you have to ask, well, why is that?,” she told Channel 4 News. “Of course that reflects the particular passions of this year’s jury, the jury changes every year, but also I think it’s a fundamental shift in the way that artists are making work.”

She added: “Someone like James Richards is using video like paint. He manipulates it, adds distortions, adds sound to it in order to create these striking and engaging visual collages.”

But there is one group of dissenters who aren’t impressed: the Stuckists art protest group have once again said they are not bothering with a demonstration at this year’s prize, “due to the fact that the prize has sunk to a predictable and pathetic level of elitist repetition that is not worth bothering about”.

The four artists, Duncan Campbell, Ciara Phillips, James Richards and Tris Vonna-Michell, will find out who won the £40,000 prize at a ceremony broadcast on Channel 4 on 1 December, hosted by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.

James Richards

Video: excerpt from Rosebud, 2013

James Richards, 31, makes video collages and installations, and lives in Berlin. He was nominated for Rosebud 2013, which he contributed to The Encylopaedic Palace at the 55th Venice Biennale, and which features filmed censored photographs from Tokyo library books.

He was born in Cardiff in 1983, and studied at Chelsea School of Art.

Tris Vonna-Michell

Video: Excerpt from Finding Chopin: Dans l’Essex (2014)

31-year-old Tris Vonna-Michell was nominated for his solo exhibition Postscript II (Berlin) 2014, a slide installation about his mother’s post-war childhood in Germany with his monologue over the top. He is also showing the film installation Finding Chopin: Dans l’Essex (2014) which is loosely based on the French sound poet Henri Chopin.

He lives and works in Stockholm, and studied at Glasgow School of Art in 2005, but he was born in Southend-on-Sea.

Photo: Postscript II (Berlin) 2013, courtesy of the artist and Jan Mot, Brussels

Ciara Phillips

Photo: Installation view from The Showroom, London (2013), courtesy of the artist and Kendall Koppe, Glasgow

Ciara Phillips, 38, is presenting a new installation for this year’s prize, entitled Things Shared (2014). It features colourful prints which have been pasted directly onto the gallery walls from floor to ceiling, while giant 3D letters, spelling out ‘OK’ are displayed in the room.

She creates screenprints on paper, textiles, photos and objects, and her work is often site-specific. She lives and works in Glasgow, but was born in Ottowa, Canada.

Duncan Campbell

Video: Exceprt from If for Others (2013)

Duncan Campbell is showing his film If for Others (2013) which is a response to a 1953 film essay about historical African art and colonialism, and features a range of archive clips and photos, re-enactments and monologues. He has said that documentary is a form of fiction, and said that he is always striving for what Samuel Beckett called “a form that accommodates the mess”.

Aged 42, he also lives and works in Glasgow, but was born in Dublin.