ArtLyst at the Baltic with first hand photos of the Turner Prize party
With long queues and cold damp breezes greeting the guests at tonight’s Turner Prize, everyone was elated to finally get inside the Baltic. The award was won by Martin Boyce whose installations are a highly theatrical montage of Modernist reference: this scholarly work deploys Modernism’s multiple design iconographies, or insignias, to create an atmospheric venue of collision, replete with Art Deco-style vent coverings, and a suspended ceiling-sculpture based on the cubist works of Jan and Joel Martel. At the heart of this designscape, sits a library table designed by Jean Prouvé for the Maison de l’Etudiant in Paris; but to this quote, Boyce adds a further reference in the form of a hanging mobile, immediately evocative of work by Modernist artists such as Alexander Calder. Ultimately, Boyce’s presents us with a surreal dream-like vision of the Modern project, in a space that is both organic and urban, something epitomised in the Constructivist, angular leaves scattered about the floor. But in this, he seemingly parodies that merger; the Modernist attempt to create perfection by harnessing the fluidity and easy-functionality of organicism in art and design practice.
Another significant inspiration for this piece was the work of sculptors Joel and Jan Martel; a set of concrete trees designed for a Modernist garden in Paris in the 1920s has become transformed into a motif which can be found in several different elements of Boyce’s installation. It is up to the viewer to identify these repeated shapes in all their different incarnations, as some are extremely subtle, not least the art-deco style vents which at first glance are not obviously part of the installation at all. This blending-in also forms part of Boyce’s conceptual framework; his work exists in dialogue with the architecture of the space in which it is exhibited. This is evidenced in the fact that the Baltic gallery space housing his installation contains a number of pillars; whereas some artists may have been concerned that these architectural features would detract from the impact of their work, Boyce does not share this worry.
Ultimately, in a space that is both organic and urban, something epitomised in the Constructivist, angular leaves scattered about the floor, Boyce presents us with a surreal dream-like vision of the Modern project.
Martin Boyce was born in Hamilton, Scotland, in 1967. He completed both his BA and MA at the Glasgow School of Art and still lives and works in the city.
The party continues and we will update as the photos pour in. Photos © ArtLyst 2011 Thomas Keane