Turner Prize 2011 Opens On The Tyne

Turner Prize 2011


BALTIC opens 2011 Turner Prize Exhibition

For the first time in its 27 year history, the Turner Prize is to be hosted by a non-Tate venue; and today, Gateshead’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has opened the doors on the Turner Prize exhibition. Four shortlisted artists – Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Hilary Lloyd, and George Shaw – have been selected by a jury of leading gallery directors and curators, for exceptional exhibitions in the past year. The prize, established in 1984 to celebrate innovations in British contemporary art, is awarded annually to a British artist under fifty, and is now recognised as one of the most prestigious awards in the art world.

From Gateshead, ArtLyst reports on the pieces submitted by the four nominees for this year’s prize:

Karla Black’s exhibited work defies classification, but rather simultaneously occupies the regions of painting, sculpture, and performance. Upon passing through a maze of fragile polythene and paint-cracked curtains, the viewer is met with a monumental mountain range constructed out of crumpled sugar paper that fills the room. These contours are sensually coloured with pastel chalk powders, make-up, soap and bath-bombs, Black here acting in the capacity of an abstract painter: but, as a three-dimensional work, this work is traversable, the viewer invited into the folds of the canvass to become immersed. Black’s work is informed by Melanie Klein Jungian-psychoanalytical studies of pre-linguistic infants and their relationship with the malleable material world. In this piece, Black prompts us to regress, returning to our pre-linguistic, infantine pleasure in tactility. READ MORE ON KARLA BLACK

Martin Boyce’s installation is 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. READ MORE ON MARTIN BOYCE

Hilary Lloyd’s video works function on two levels: in content, they infuse the everyday mundane with the glamour of intrigue generated through abstraction, while in form, they enlist the mechanics of video-display for sculpture – with svelte screens, industrial brackets, pod-like DVD players, and circuitboard-esque cabling, coming to the fore. We are presented with four works: in Tower Block, a blank monitor is interjected with high rises, surreally spliced into abstraction via arbitrary image edging; in Floor, three parallel projections explore the surface texture of floorboards with a near-fetishistic, intimate scrutiny; in Shirt, worn fabric is rendered nonfigurative, the patterns and folds becoming landscape instead of fashion; while in Moon, a twin-screen installation, presents us with 21 miniature viewing-windows from which we voyeuristically glimpse the moon, creating a field of juddering orbs. Lloyd’s works seek to dissect and undermine the conventions of seeing; in doing so, she reveals to us the constructedness of vision – that sense that we so often fail to question; seeing, it seems, is not believing. READ MORE ON HILARY LLOYD

George Shaw is a painter of nostalgia, documenting the oh-so-English stomping ground of his youth –Tile Hill, a post-war housing estate on the edge of Coventry in the West Midlands. In a series of paintings that began in 1995, George Shaw explores the familiarity of these old streets and the jarring of the new interventions to this environment since his time there. Rather than rendered in ‘high’ oils, Shaw opts Humbrol enamel, the paint of model aeroplanes – of boyhood. But this is not only a conceptual device; it furthermore creates an extraordinarily glossy surface-texture that punches the light away, affording the paintings a quality that is seemingly more photographic than painterly. Of the eight paintings on display, four have been created especially for the Turner Prize; The Devil Made Me Do It, an unusually pastoral image of woodland; The New Houses, an ironic depiction of a suburban wasteland; The Same old Crap, a murky night scene; and Shut up, a shop window with its shutters down, closed for business. Unashamedly sentimental, Shaw’s work is a deeply heartfelt ode to memory, in all its glossy confusion. READ MORE ON GEORGE SHAW

Words: Thomas Keane & Maddie Bates / Photo: Ishbel Mull © 2011 ArtLyst

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