Entertainment & Arts

Turner Prize won by Martin Boyce

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Media captionMartin Boyce: "It was a brilliant shortlist to be a part of."

Sculptor Martin Boyce, whose works include artificial trees and a leaning litter bin, has won the Turner Prize.

Glasgow-based Boyce accepted the modern art award at the Baltic gallery in Gateshead - the first time the ceremony has been held outside a Tate venue.

Boyce is known for re-imagining items from places like parks and public spaces and using them in atmospheric, modernist-inspired installations.

Photographer Mario Testino presented Boyce with the £25,000 cheque.

The prestigious and frequently controversial prize is awarded to a British artist under 50 who is judged to have put on the best exhibition of the last 12 months.

The other nominees were installation sculptor Karla Black, video artist Hilary Lloyd and painter George Shaw.

At the exhibition of the nominees' works at the Baltic, Boyce has turned three large white gallery pillars into square trees, topped by canopies of uniform white leaves.

Image caption Martin Boyce's works on show at the Baltic include a re-imagined library table and three artificial trees

Angular brown leaves made from wax-coated crepe paper are scattered on the ground, while a library table has been reconfigured into a playful modern creation.

"It's been a brilliant year to be a part of this thing," he said during his acceptance speech, thanking the Baltic and the Tate. "Most of all, it's been a brilliant shortlist to be part of."

The 43-year-old hails from Hamilton in South Lanarkshire and studied at the Glasgow School of Art.

He also used his speech to "acknowledge the value of accessible education and the importance of teachers" - an apparent reference to the rise in tuition fees and funding cuts to arts courses.

"If I wanted to go to art school now, I don't know if I could do it," he said afterwards. "I really don't know."

Art is "a really important and valuable part of our culture", he continued, adding: "The idea that you're going to go to art school now and it's going to be a privileged place to be is just so depressing."

The exhibition of the nominees' work has been a hit in Gateshead, drawing more than 100,000 visitors since it opened in October.

Image caption Boyce was presented with the prize by photographer Mario Testino (right)

The annual exhibition and ceremony have only been held outside London once before in the Turner's 27-year history, at Tate Liverpool in 2007. The Turner's traditional home is Tate Britain.

In the future, the prize will be held in a different city around the UK every other year, returning to London in the years between. It will be held in Londonderry in 2013.

Baltic director Godfrey Worsdale said: "Baltic visitors have taken Turner Prize to their hearts in a big way. It's really supported Tate's decision to let this exhibition around the country.

"Everyone knows about the Turner Prize and all of a sudden it's on their doorsteps and they can come and have a look and be involved."

The prize had attracted people to the north-east from around the country and around the world, he said.

"Those people will maybe learn something about this part of the country - it's actually an incredibly culturally vibrant place," he said.

"We know it has a positive impact economically - we know hotel bookings are up because of Turner Prize, we know people are spending time in this area, and that's all good for the region."

Last year's prize was taken by sound artist Susan Philipsz.

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