The list of this year’s Turner Prize nominees has been released to mixed reactions, as is often the case with the controversial art competition.
Some have called the nominations a fantastic list, whilst others can only snort in derision and make thinly-veiled toilet jokes. Before making a verdict, we ought to examine the art in question and find out what exactly it entails. Leading the buzz as favourite to win is Paul Noble’s ‘Public Toilet’ from his ‘Nobson Newtown’ series, a strange image in which the clouds have faces and the buildings spell out what they are. The series is known for the fact that the inhabitants of fictional town Nobson Newtown are made from, in a word, poo.
Then there is Spartacus Chetwynd, who claims she changed her name to that in order to annoy people. Her nomination is for Odd Man Out, a bi-weekly, five-hour-long play that was on throughout May 2011. The performers were controlled by votes from the audience, changing the outcome of every performance. Following on her heels is film-maker Elizabeth Price, nominated for a trilogy of video installments at the Baltic entitled ‘Here’ – described as a “fantasy episode” by the Baltic.
Luke Fowler is also shortlisted for his recent solo exhibition at Inverleith House, Edinburgh. His new film exploring the life and work of Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing is the work in question, described as “melancholy” and “atmospheric”.
Considering that there is a hefty £25,000 up for grabs, with each of the nominees already being granted £5,000 just for the pleasure of being in the list, someone somewhere had better be pretty sure that these pieces are worthy of the attention and the funding. So, what are your thoughts? Is the Turner Prize a worthwhile and enriching cultural event, or is it merely an exercise in patting deluded and ridiculous “artists” on the back?