TURNER PRIZE 2015
Since its inception in 1984, The Turner Prize has heralded some of the UK’s finest contemporary artists to date. The Turner Prize is held annually and awards one of four nominated British artists for an exceptional exhibition held within the year. The prize itself is £40,000 and a life-long legacy known to have a significant impact on the winner's career. The catch? Be innovative and under 50.
From October 1st, The Turner Prize will be held in Tramway - the first arts award of its kind to be held in Scotland. In 2004, Tate Britain handed over the prestige as hosts. Subsequently, allowing galleries from across the UK to propose for a new setting and demonstrate how The Turner Prize might continue to grow in an ever-changing art world.
Tramway's vision of the Turner Prize has a particular emphasis on audience participation, illustrated by an extensive outreach programme set amidst the exhibition's three-month run. It features art classes, evening talks and a series of interactive workshops. Interestingly, this programme feats the same levels of accessibility as given within the context of the exhibition itself.
Last year's Turner Prize winner, Duncan Campbell, described his award-winning film It for Others as resembling an essay in the way it acted as 'A moment in thought...not a conclusion.' This same mode of thinking can be projected onto the work of this year's nominees: Assemble, Bonnie Campbell, Janice Kerbel and Nicole Wermers. Overall, the 2015 Turner Prize seeks to promote social inclusion on every level, where the exhibition only marks the start of your experience.
Upon entering the gallery, you may find yourself drawn first to Infrastrucktur: a series of sculptures based from Marcel Breuer chairs. Breuer was a modernist furniture designer of the Bauhaus period: a time emblematic of minimalism. Minimalism acted as a reconsideration of the everyday object as belonging to a 'sculptural vocabulary', forcing furniture and interiors out of the realms of the familiar. Wermers' sculptures act in perfect ode to this; vintage fur, sown into the back of the chairs, create the illusion of presence whilst also being pitifully empty. Some of the chairs face each other, emulating a conversation long since abandoned by their guests. In my mind, the topic of conversation verges on a social commentary. At first glance, Wermers is presenting a claim on space; a status, mutual yet impersonal, that is cold and affecting.
The most curious thing about these chairs is that they hardly resemble sculpture - not in the broad, classical sense that sculpture is so often related to. What Wermers has created could be described as the clever pinning of social convention. A simple movement, such is the hanging of a coat on the back of a chair - is taken into analysis and considered as a talking point.
Patterns encourages the same mode of critical thinking by presenting a library of books and collated research materials. His work consists of a wide range of mediums from drawing to film which aim to question consciousness and reality.
When we consider art, we so often envision a high-brow manifesto of the world attained through obtuse meaning (with little or no thought to illustrating to the viewer how they may best achieve an understanding of the work) or indeed a chance to emulate it within their own practice. Interestingly, when speaking of something as 'an art', we take a different stance. The phrase, 'The art of...' can refer to any given craft or occupation. This phrase also refers to mastery of a skill; and is often implicated in the titles of handbooks, instructions or guides. Like those guides, the art featured within this Turner Prize reads consistently by example.
A new first for Turner Prize is a London based architecture collective by the name of Assemble. The communal nature of 18-part collective Assemble is another tribute in considering all forms as art, and art existing in all forms, even in the grecian reworking of Liverpudlian Council houses. Literary, musical and architectural influences all partake in the crossover of stimuli on offer. Their work offers not only a range of mediums but a feast of colours and textures that truly embrace this years message - 'try something new'.
Janice Kerbel is infamous for starting each new project by learning an entirely new skill. Her nominated work, entitled Doug was originally commissioned by Glasgow's Common Guild in 2014. It is an operatic piece composed of several songs which exist in the gallery by way of several trained opera singers. Hymnal, yes. Amidst the bustle of a hyper opening crowd, I try to concentrate on the highs and lows of the vocals; pretending to determine the point Doug - the immortal character of the monologue's untimely plot - has reached in his infinite struggles. I'm not a music critic. I doubt many others partaking in observing this particular performance were either - all in spite of a reverent interest which fell upon the crowd.
One member of the audience chose to view the singers standing behind them, while seemingly squinting in order to consider their figures as musical silhouettes. Another closed his eyes; reflecting upon the ephemerality of the moment, no doubt, as the music washed over him like waves. In the middle of the performance, I watched as the artist herself exchanged a tender hug with a friend. The look in Kerbel's eyes was of triumph; someone who had, without a doubt, achieved something - regardless of who wins in the end.