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Blur video director nominated for Turner Prize

One of the works in David Shrigley’s Turner Prize-nominated exhibition “Brain Activity.”

LONDON: The shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize has been announced, and it pits the humorous cartoonist who directed a Blur music video against an artist who orchestrates “live encounters.

”The other two contenders for one of the world’s most controversial art awards are a French-born filmmaker and a painter who has become the award’s first black female nominee.

Organized by London’s Tate Britain gallery, the annual contemporary art prize is one of Europe’s most prestigious for the visual arts. It awards £25,000 ($38,500) to the winner and £5,000 to those shortlisted.

Scottish cartoonist David Shrigley, known for his wickedly funny drawings, photographs and writing, was nominated for his “Brain Activity” exhibition, which organizers said showed off his “black humor, macabre intelligence and infinite jest.”

The artist directed the video for Blur’s “Good Song,” while he has also collaborated with indie rockers Franz Ferdinand and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne.

Also nominated is French-born Laure Prouvost, whose recent films included a montage of images of the natural world which aimed to interpret the taste of the sun.

Prouvost “employs strong story-telling, quick cuts, montage and deliberate misuse of language,” Tate Britain said, “to create surprising and unpredictable work.”

Tino Sehgal, who last year filled the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with storytellers, is the first artist specializing in “encounter” installations to be shortlisted.

The British-German artist’s works, the Tate said, “test the limits of artistic material and audience perception in a new and significant way.”

The shortlist is completed by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the first black woman to figure in the Turner lineup.

“Her portraits of imaginary people,” organizers said, “use invented pre-histories and raise pertinent questions about how we read pictures in general.”

The Turner Prize is renowned for rewarding controversial artists.

Video artist Elizabeth Price won the 2012 prize for her video installation “The Woolworths Choir of 1979.”

Previous winners include Damien Hirst and transvestite potter Grayson Perry. Tracey Emin was shortlisted in 1999 for her unmade bed.

The prize was set up in 1984 and is awarded to a British or U.K.-based artist under 50 years of age for an outstanding presentation of their work in the previous 12 months, and is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art.

The shortlist exhibition will be held at the Ebrington Square gallery in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, as part of its role as the U.K. City of Culture 2013. This year’s winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Dec. 2.

Bookmakers William Hill installed Shrigley as their early favorite at 7-4, followed by Prouvost at 2-1, Sehgal at 5-2 and Yiadom-Boakye the outsider at 4-1.

“The consensus was that Shrigley would be the likely favorite. Those are our starting prices,” spokesman Rupert Adams told AFP. “Our theory was that it was about time that people laughed with the prize and not at the prize.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 26, 2013, on page 16.

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