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 99.

    Amused by the same tired arguments being made about these works lacking artistic ability or being solely about "shock value". It's about as insightful as complaining about being unable to program your video recorder. Art, like music, film and literature, has evolved in the past century, and I know most of you can't be THAT old!

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Turner will be spinning in his grave that a prize given in his name is handed to such un-artistic junk. Art should be about hands on skill, not who can bamboozle the most people with "work" that is nothing more than an abstract thought that the artist had and we are meant to interpret. Take a look at The Hay Wain.....you don't have to interpret - just admire!

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Does anybody actually like this stuff?? I'm very talented at drawing animals so I get the odd commission to do pet portraits however a lot of so-called artists or people who supposedly like art sneer at my work for 'looking too realistic'. I know what I would rather have hanging on my wall. There are too many pretentious idiots in the art world.

  • 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 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?


Comments 5 of 10


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