Filmmakers and narrator shortlisted for Turner Prize

LONDON: A video artist who weaves together old VHS footage, YouTube clips and censored erotic images and another who delivers fast-paced spoken-word performances were named for the shortlist of this year’s Turner Prize Wednesday.

James Richards and Tris Vonna-Michell are among four nominees for the 25,000-pound ($42,000) contemporary art prize, along with filmmaker Duncan Campbell and print-maker Ciara Phillips.

Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, the Turner Prize was made famous by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin and is notorious for challenging the public’s perceptions about what constitutes art.

This year’s shortlist is more about showcasing the diversity of works and techniques used by young artists, from traditional crafts to online imagery.

“I think there’s been a number of times when there’s been quite a fix on video in the last 10-12 years,” said Penelope Curtis, Tate Britain director and jury chair, at a news conference announcing the Turner shortlist. “That’s just the way artists work now.

“The four shortlisted artists share a strong international presence and an ability to adapt, restage and reinterpret their own and others’ works,” Curtis continued, “very often working in collaborative social contexts.”

Richards, a 30-year-old Welshman who lives and works in Berlin, is known for splicing together videos from a wide variety of sources, including YouTube and his own footage.

He has been nominated for his black and white film “Rosebud,” which features shots of erotic books from a Tokyo library in which censors have scratched out the genitalia.

The British-born Vonna-Michell, 31, performs live or recorded narratives filled with deviations and repetitions, often accompanied by installations providing a kind of visual script. She was shortlisted for a recent solo exhibition in Brussels, “Postscript II (Berlin).”

“The shortlist includes work that manipulates and appropriates found film footage and online imagery, as well as work that employs analogue technology, craft and design,” observed a statement from Tate, which runs the Turner Prize.

“These contrasting approaches suggest the impact of the Internet, cinema, TV and mobile technologies on a new generation of artists.”

Phillips, 37, who was born in Canada but works in Glasgow, is a printmaker who uses photographs and textiles to create paintings as well as installations.

She was nominated for a two-month workshop, “The Showroom,” in London last year, for which she produced new screen prints in collaboration with other artists and invited groups, including local women’s organizations.

Campbell, who was born in Ireland in 1972 and lives and works in Glasgow, was nominated for his presentation, “It and Others,” which was shown in Venice last year.

The film is a response to a 1953 video essay about the commodification of African art, and includes filmed and archive footage, animation and a dance performance.

The prize is open to any contemporary artist under the age of 50 who was born in Britain or is living or working there, and is judged on the work they have shown in the last 12 months.

The winner takes the largest prize, although each of the nominees are also handed 5,000 pounds. It will be awarded on Dec. 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 08, 2014, on page 16.




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