Turner Prize: Video artist Elizabeth Price wins

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Media caption,

The Bradford-born artist won £25,000 prize for work which included a film inspired by a fatal fire at a Woolworths store

Video artist Elizabeth Price has won the Turner Prize, one of the art world's most prestigious and controversial awards.

Yorkshire-born Price uses archival images, text and music to create works exploring the human relationship to objects and consumer culture.

She secured the £25,000 prize for her video installation, The Woolworths Choir of 1979, 2012.

The actor Jude Law presented Price with the award at Tate Britain in London.

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

The other nominees were performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd, video artist Luke Fowler and Paul Noble, a visual artist.


Price is the least well known of the four artists and admitted she was "surprised" to win.

During her acceptance speech she praised her comprehensive school education, saying her career would be "unimaginable" without public support for the arts.

Thanking the Tate, she also commended the other shortlisted artists for their "respect, camaraderie and a sense of the absurd".

According to the Baltic Gallery in Gateshead, where Price exhibited earlier this year, she "draws upon historical film, photographic archives and collections of artefacts to generate fantasy episodes".

At the exhibition of the nominees' works at Tate Britain, Price combined old music, photographs, video footage and text to depict a tragic fire at a branch of Woolworth's in Manchester in 1979, in which 10 people died.

"When I started making the work, I didn't know it would end up being about that subject. I believe art should be dealing with these subjects and I think art is a way to remember them," said Price.

The Guardian said it has been "a good year" for the art prize and described Price as a "worthy winner".

Art critic Adrian Searle said: "Her use of footage from the fire itself never feels voyeuristic or meretricious. She does a great deal in 20 minutes. Its complexity has stayed with me."

'Seductive and immersive'

The Times called Price a "memorable winner" who produced a "compelling" piece of work, while The Daily Telegraph described her as "a genuinely interesting talent".

"This year's Turner Prize has gone to the artist who is in most respects the most difficult and the most on the cutting edge of now, and yet is at the same time the least controversial," wrote Mark Hudson.

The judges said they admired the "seductive and immersive" aspects of her 20-minute film, which they said "reflects the ambition that has characterised her work in recent years".

Her use of various archival material created a "rhythmic and ritualistic experience", they said.

Image caption,
Elizabeth Price's videos often start with familiar settings before taking a sinister turn

Born in Bradford in 1966, Price received a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from Oxford University before attending the Royal College of Art where she obtained an MA in Fine Art in 1991.

She also has a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Leeds.

The annual ceremony and exhibition of the nominees' work returned to Tate Britain this year having taken place at the Baltic Gallery in 2011 - the first time the ceremony was held outside a Tate venue.

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

Previous recipients of the prize, first awarded in 1984, include Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen and Grayson Perry.

Last year's prize was awarded to sculptor Martin Boyce.

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