Turner Prize: 2012 shortlist announced

Public Toilet by Paul Noble Paul Noble creates large-scale, intricate drawings of a fictional metropolis, named Nobson Newtown. His nominated work is called Public Toilet.
Odd Man Out by Spartacus Chetwynd Spartacus Chetwynd is nominated for her exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, London. Her carnivalesque installations use handmade costumes and sets.
All Divided Selves by Luke Fowler All Divided Selves by Luke Fowler is a film exploring the life and work of Scottish psychiatrist, RD Laing.
Elizabeth Price Elizabeth Price, a video artist, is nominated for her solo exhibition at the Baltic, Gateshead.

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A woman who once based a work around Star Wars character Jabba the Hutt is one of the four artists shortlisted for this year's £25,000 Turner Prize.

Performance artist Lali "Spartacus" Chetwynd joins Luke Fowler, Paul Noble and Elizabeth Price on the shortlist.

The prestigious prize is awarded to a British artist, under the age of 50, considered to have put on the best exhibition of the last 12 months.

The winning artist will be announced at Tate Britain in London on 3 December.

Sculptor Martin Boyce, whose works include artificial trees and a leaning litter bin, won in 2011.

This year's judges include Andrew Hunt of the Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea, Heike Munder from the Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, and Michael Stanley of Modern Art Oxford.

The Turner Prize shortlist is interesting by default. If the quartet of shortlisted artists are dull or simply not very good, as has been the case on occasion in the recent past, their presence tells us that British contemporary art is in the doldrums. Not so this year.

The selection of Spartacus Chetwynd is significant. Artists that have a performance aspect to their work have appeared on the shortlist before - Gilbert & George and Mark Lecky for instance - but it is the first time an artist whose practice is centred on performance has been shortlisted.

Chetwynd's nomination is recognition by the jury of the fact that performance art is no longer a fringe activity pursued by the eccentric arm of the avant-garde.

Marina Abramovic's 2010 blockbuster exhibition The Artist Is Present at New York's Museum of Modern Art; and the soon-to-be-opened Tate Tanks at Tate Modern are proof of performance art's arrival at contemporary art's top table.

Mark Sladen from Denmark's Kunsthal Charlottenborg will also sit on the panel alongside Tate Britain director Penelope Curtis, chair of the jury.

Ms Curtis told the BBC she did not think this year's shortlist was "overly challenging".

"It doesn't look like it's setting out to be controversial, I think there's a nice variety," she said.

"I believe that people will see that there's something serious going on here and that these artists have been working for years on very serious projects."

Previous recipients of the prize, first awarded in 1984, include Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen and Grayson Perry.

Perry told the BBC Paul Noble would be his pick of this year's nominees.

"He has been a long-time slogger at the coal face of culture and he deserves to be on the shortlist," he said.

The artist, who won the Turner in 2003 for a series of vases depicting subjects like death and child abuse, said the prize was "very relevant still".

"It's still a good calling card," he said. "It's awarded by your peers, so it's important".

However Tracey Emin, who was nominated in 1999, warned the prize was "a bit of a gauntlet".

"It's a lot of hard work being nominated for the Turner Prize and I'd advise anybody who gets nominated for it to think seriously whether you accept it," she said.

Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at Tate Britain opening on 2 October.


A scene from Spartacus Chetwynd's An Evening with Jabba the Hutt A scene from Spartacus Chetwynd's An Evening with Jabba the Hutt

Born in 1973, Spartacus Chetwynd made her name by staging recreations of such cultural landmarks as Michael Jackson's Thriller video and F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

Her work, which has been seen at the Saatchi Gallery, the Migros Museum and Tate Britain, has a home-made aesthetic and often involves an element of audience participation.

The 38-year-old says she "lives and works in a nudist colony in south London" and changed her name from Lali on her 33rd birthday "to remind people they have a choice in life".

Chetwynd is shortlisted for her solo exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ in London.

Luke Fowler Luke Fowler's documentary films play with expectations of narrative and reality

Born in 1978 in Glasgow, Luke Fowler creates cinematic collages that have often been linked to the British Free Cinema movement of the 1950s.

He was the first winner of the Derek Jarman Award for artist film-makers and had a retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2009.

Fowler is shortlisted for his solo exhibition at Inverleith House in Edinburgh, which showcased his new film exploring the life and work of Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing.

Born in 1963, Paul Noble is a painter, draughtsman and installation artist who explores society through drawings of a fictional town called Nobson Newtown.

His drawings depict a dysfunctional dystopian landscape that has seen him compared to the legendary William Hogarth and US cartoonist Robert Crumb.

Noble is shortlisted for his solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in London, which brought together his darkly satirical and painstakingly detailed drawings.

Elizabeth Price Elizabeth Price's videos often start with familiar settings before taking a sinister turn

Born in Bradford in 1966, Elizabeth Price creates video installations that incorporate moving images, text and music.

According to the Baltic in Gateshead, where her work is currently on show, "she draws upon historical film, photographic archives and collections of artefacts to generate fantasy episodes".

It is for her current exhibition Here, which comprises a trilogy of video installations, that she has been shortlisted.

The nominated artists who do not win the main prize will each receive £5,000.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Paul Noble's drawings of Nobson Newton are weird, disturbing, and really stay in the memory. In real life they are absolutely huge and drawn with incredible levels of detail. Even if you dislike the concept of the drawings, it's absurd to suggest that they require no artistic ability given the intricacy of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Turder prize, its that time again, does it have to be like this, where we have to take the mick, out of those taking the mick, in the name of art and money.
    Its the money aspect, doing whatever it takes, just look around you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    pretentious dross with zero merit, artisitc or otherwise. Well, maybe some comedy effect stemming from laughing at pretentious prats talking drivel about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I would like to point out to Ms Chetwynd that, in fact, *I* am Spartacus.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Cant wait to see what these jokers have defined as art this year! wonder what it will be this time? A vat of fresh egg yolk with aborted animal fetuses in it or something equally ground breaking no doubt. The international art market will be slavering over the omelets of course. Well you cant make art these days without making someone puke you know!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Most of the comments here take issue with the work. That's pointless, it's chosen to shock.
    The real problem is the form of the "competition" which is all about PR and has turned into a "buggins turn" for the very small group of artists.
    These artists are already successful - they are part of the Tate and Arts Council machinery.
    The best thing is to ignore it all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Those big drawings look interesting. That Jabba the Hutt looks even worse than the CGI one. Poor Jabba.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    WOT a LOAD of OLD TOSH !

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I can just imagine the chorus now.

    'I'm not Spartacus!'
    'I'm not Spartacus either!'
    'Don't look at me - I'm not Spartacus!'

    for after all? Who would want to be associated with a giant papier mache Jabba The Hutt? It looks like a GCSE art project which has gone very badly wrong.

    The other finalists are poor too. Can't we get some schoolkids to make a better go of it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Oh please. The Turner Prize keeps getting attention year after year because they're good at attention-seeking.

    Just ignore them and they'll go away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Turner Prize.


  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    11. Ben - Actually, I'd say it's a perfect allegory for modern society. An elevated social class creating unreadable and unfathomable pieces that confuse and annoy the general public, whilst revelling in backslapping and self-congratulation.

    Sound at all like modern governments and their pals in the financial sector?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    What a load of old tosh. I pray that this is all self funded and we are not having to pay any of our taxes towards this drivel.It is about time Art Funding was slashed and all the Art bodies made to stand on their own two feet. There are far more important things to spend our money on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Art should be representative of the state of a society's culture. It appears the art world has been hijacked by vacuous rambling, or perhaps it is a true reflection of the state of our society! What will people think of us looking back from the future? Fortunately there is much that is good in our music,film and theatre industries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    When did 'art' become such a joke?

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a nomination that the majority of people would appreciate thus encouraging more people to visit their local art galleries or Open Studios events, both of which are suffering from a lack of funding?

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    After a visit to the Cistine Chapel, my neighbour announced that she did not like Da Vinci's painting The Last Judgement. I repeated to her some of the really interesting things an Italian guide had told me, but she waved her hand dismissively and repeated "I DO NOT LIKE IT!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Does anyone truely care about this publicity contest? It is no longer about the talent or skill of artists more a kind of X factor for media whores seeking to pass their latest talentless piece of absurdity off as 'creativity'. Souless and talentless. It has an 'Emperor's new clothes' air too - no one can say how dire it is for fear of being labelled a philistine....

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Really don't think Luke Fowler should be allowed to participate - or Andy Murry compete at Wimbeldon until the referendum issue is sorted out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    It's just too predictable these days. I first noticed the Turner Prize after the controversy surrounding Tracy Emin's bed. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was awful, but at least it created some sort of debate.
    However every year since people have tried to replicate the same "shock" value, to a point where it can't be shocking anymore, and it's just a tedious, predictable, manufactured routine.


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