comments are closed on this review, click here for worldwidereview home

The Turner Prize 2004, 03 December 2004

From: Henry Procter
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 03 December 2004


The Turner Prize 2004

‘Substance over shock’ for this years Turner Prize entries.

The four entries for this year’s prize are Jeremy Dellar, Langlands and Bell, Kutlag.Ataman and Yinka.Shonibare.

Jeremy Dellar has been nominated for his video installation ’Memory Bucket’; it is a film that encapsulates his love of people and bats. Filmed in Wako and Crawford, Texas the film covers the aftermath of 1993’s Branch Davidian mass self-pyromania and then to Crawford the home of George and his favourite burger joint. As a piece of documentary it is loose and so the subject matter is more prominent due to no scripting or prompting. The ultimate or as some have described as ’monolithic finale’ is twenty minutes of ’bat central’, a harrowing and beautiful sequence of one hundred thousand bats per minute exploding from their cave, synchronised and linear on screen. In all, the sensation of nature at work is a positive end to troubled film content, as humans walking the scorched Wako terrain we have and will always have an ability to grow in the desert.

The New Disney World is put on display courtesy of Langland and Bells ‘John.Simpson’ type expeditions to the now militia free Afghanistan. The simulated Osama world investigates as described by The Tate ‘their dangerous expedition to the eerie isolated house occupied by Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s.’ The CAD is more sega mega drive with all the jittering as you try to direct yourself with a joystick past pine trees etc. The Imperial War Museum commissioned this investigative journalism, the work would be very relevant in the area of modern conflict memorabilia but as an installation for The Turner Prize it fails to release any conceptual meaning.

Kutlag.Ataman’s gorgeous floating portraits show more promise. The landscape of the installation is reminiscent, says the artist of ’being in Istanbul, the children gathered around, looking up and listening to the elder’. The onlooker on first entry is transfixed on fellow viewers who are transfixed on the projections. Installing his film work is a very important part for Kutlag; the overall sensation is just as important as the content of the film. You are forced to bounce your own shadow on and off the various surfaces as you guide yourself through the labyrinth of screens. The characters are unique people who follow the Muslim faith offering insight into the past and present. The narrative is changed along the way so the viewer becomes confused as to whether reality is present. Kutlag analyses the machinery of the human self, concentrating on the script that is human kinds own fictionalisation. The natural cameos show an intimate relationship that Kutlag must hold to gain access to fragile pasts. There are seven artists who make up the piece, Kutlag and his six interpreters, ’we are all artists as we are all creating our own lives.’ Kutag.Ataman says.

The ground of the cultural crossbreed is cut and pasted for Yinka.Shonibare’s series of works, a dedicated wall of large spherical discs, a headless rococo beauty perched on a garden swing in mid-flight and lastly an opera without orchestra a la Verdi. He deals with post-modernist hybrids of cloth for example, bought as African except originating in Indonesia and introduced to Africa by British manufacturers via Dutch colonisers in the nineteenth century. This worldly cloth is then used to cover sculptural ‘nuclear alien families’ entitled with slogans like the ‘dysfunctional family’. I feel Yinka’s colourful creations probably cover too obvious concepts as to warrant a first in The Prize for the currently cool.

This year The Turner is bigger in ideas, bigger in sponsorship and bigger in the controlling mind as the art form. The comments room that every year sees the public air their views is currently awash with blaspheme. The public will always slate the prize but when peoples opinion reaches a point where every ten comment slips your eye is met with lines like ’Melanie gives blowjobs for 20p’, the ones in between left empty, then do we have to question the nature of the most publicised arts prize in England. Is The Turner Prize becoming an exclusive annual outing solely for the elitist art set?

comments are closed on this review, click here for worldwidereview home