The Turner Prize returns to Tate Britain in London for its 34th edition.
The prize is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the preceding year as determined by a jury. Art Radar looks at the four nominated artists.
Currently on view at Tate Britain in London is an exhibition of work by the four artists shortlisted for the 2018 Turner Prize, which includes Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson. The exhibition of the work of the nominated artists for the Turner Prize 2018 is curated by two curators of contemporary British art at Tate: Linsey Young and Elsa Coustou.
One of the world’s best-known prizes for visual art, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 4 December 2018 at an awards ceremony live on the BBC, the broadcast partner for the Turner Prize.
Established in 1984, the Turner Prize is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 16 April 2018. The Turner Prize award is GBP40,000 with GBP25,000 going to the winner and GBP5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists.
The members of the Turner Prize 2018 jury are Oliver Basciano, art critic and International Editor at ArtReview; Elena Filipovic, Director of Kunsthalle Basel; Lisa Le Feuvre, Executive Director of Holt-Smithson Foundation; and Tom McCarthy, novelist and Visiting Professor, Royal College of Art. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, who commented on this year’s shortlist thus:
The artists shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize are tackling some of today’s most important issues, from queer identity, human-rights abuses and police brutality to post-colonial migration and the legacy of liberation movements. For the first time, all the shortlisted artists work with the moving image and its thrilling to see how wide a range of techniques and styles they use.
Below, Art Radar profiles the nominated artists.
Forensic Architecture presents its investigations surrounding the Bedouin communities of the Naqab/Negev region of southern Israel. Together with members of the photographic collective Activestills, Forensic Architecture investigated the events of 18 January 2017, a day on which an attempt by police to clear an unrecognised Bedouin village resulted in the deaths of two people. Forensic Architecture is an international, interdisciplinary team based at Goldsmiths, University of London, and includes architects, filmmakers, lawyers and scientists. Their work uses the built environment as a starting point for explorations into human rights violations, and usea video, photographs, scale models, text and reproductions to investigate allegations of state and corporate violence.
Forensic Architecture’s methods respond to our changing media landscape – exemplified in the widespread availability of digital recording equipment, satellite imaging and platforms for data sharing. The collective proposes new modes of open-source, citizen-led evidence gathering and analysis that has already contributed to developments in the fields of human rights, journalism and visual cultures. Forensic Architecture has worked closely with communities affected by acts of social and political violence, alongside NGOs, environmental justice and human rights groups, activists and media organisations. Their investigations have provided decisive evidence in a number of legal cases, including in national and international courts in Germany, The Hague, Greece, Israel, Guatemala, as well as in citizen tribunals and human rights processes, leading to military, parliamentary and UN inquiries. Alongside their presentation in such political and judicial fora, Forensic Architecture’s investigations have also been shown in cultural and artistic venues as examples of the use of creative practice in an image- and data-laden environment.
Forensic Architecture’s presentation at documenta 14 included work that exposed the involvement of the German Internal Security Service in a racially-motivated murder in Kassel, leading to fierce debates in the Parliamentary Inquiry of the German state of Hessen. Their exhibition in Mexico City’s University Museum of Contemporary Arts (MUAC) launched the result of a year-long investigation into the enforced disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa and affected the human rights and legal debate in relation to this case. Other solo exhibitions, such as that held at the Museum for Contemporary Arts in Barcelona (2017) and, most recently, “Counter Investigations” (2018) at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London have included both support and a platform for the team’s ongoing investigations. These exhibitions, alongside a number of publications, also provide a space for critical reflection of our image, data and media laden culture. Forensic Architecture was founded in 2010 by architect Eyal Weizman.
Naeem Mohaiemen‘s films and installations weave together archives, photographs and interviews. He explores ideas of hope and loneliness, focusing on countries freed from colonial rule. Two Meetings and a Funeral is a documentary film shown on three screens, centering on the power struggle between the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the 1970s. Volume Eleven (flaw in the algorithm of cosmopolitanism) is a concertina book telling a story of the life of Mohaiemen’s great uncle. Tripoli Cancelled is Mohaiemen’s first fiction film, following the daily routine of a man who spends a decade living alone in an abandoned airport.
Mohaiemen’s research-led practice encompasses films, installations and essays about transnational left politics in the period after World War II. He investigates the legacies of decolonisation and the erasing and rewriting of memories of political utopias. Mohaiemen combines autobiography and family history to explore how national borders and passports shape the lives of people in turbulent societies. His work focuses on film archives and the way their contents can be lost, fabricated and reanimated. The hope for an as-yet unborn international left, instead of alliances of race and religion, forms his work. Mohaiemen was born in 1969 in London, UK, and grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Anthropology at Columbia University, USA, and works in New York and Dhaka.
Presented in separate chapters at documenta 14 were four works that covered a range of histories and took a variety of forms. Volume Eleven (flaw in the algorithm of cosmopolitanism) (2017) is a series of diptychs that appeared in South as a State of Mind (the documenta 14 journal) and MoMA PS1, looking at Mohaiemen’s great uncle’s misplaced hope that Germany would liberate British India. Presented at Parliament of Bodies (documenta 14 public programmes) and Delfina Foundation was the live performance essay Muhammad Ali’s Bangladesh Passport.
Tripoli Cancelled (2017), premiering in documenta 14 / Athens and BFI London Film Festival, is Mohaiemen’s first fiction film, about a man who lived alone in an abandoned airport for a decade, with Watership Down and Boney M songs as his companions. The film reflects on the isolation of modernity and the indefinite wait for stability. Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017), presented at documenta 14 / Kassel and forthcoming at Liverpool Biennial, is a three-channel documentary examining Cold War-era power struggles between the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). A journey through transnational architecture in New York, Algiers and Dhaka, it chronicles the pivot of the Third World project from Socialism to its ideological counterpoint, Islamism.
Charlotte Prodger presents BRIDGIT, her most autobiographical work to date, filmed on an iPhone over the course of a year. It is made up of recordings of the Scottish countryside as well as shots from inside Prodger’s home. Sounds from her environment are overlaid with a narration read by the artist and her friends, including extracts from her diaries and books written by figures from queer history. It forms a framework of historical knowledge, experience and solidarity that has shaped her own queer identity.
Charlotte Prodger is a British artist working with moving and printed image, sculpture and writing. Her work explores issues surrounding queer identity, landscape, language, technology and time. She has been nominated for the 2018 Turner Prize for her solo exhibition “BRIDGIT/Stoneymollan Trail” at Bergen Kunsthall (2017) comprising two single-channel videos. Moving image has been at the core of Prodger’s work for two decades, and its ever-evolving formats are inextricably bound to the autobiographical content of her work. She has mined the material properties of numerous moving image formats, not just because they inherently get replaced over time, but because she is fascinated by their formal parameters and socio-political histories, in the sticky relationship between form and content. Prodger’s recent videos set up complex tensions between the body, landscape, identity and time.
BRIDGIT is titled after the eponymous Neolithic deity whose name has had multiple iterations across different geographical locations and points in history. BRIDGIT was shot entirely on Prodger’s iPhone, which she approaches as a prosthesis or extension of the nervous system, intimately connected to time, social interaction and work. Body and device become extensions of each other, and the work becomes a unified meditation on shifting subjectivity.
Stoneymollan Trail is named after an ancient ‘coffin road’ on the west coast of Scotland. A non-linear miscellany of visual material from her personal archive (shot between 1999 and 2015), it traces a history of recent video formats as well as the artist’s personal history. Much of Prodger’s work looks at what happens to speech – and the self for which it is a conduit – as it metamorphoses via time, space and technological systems. For voiceovers, she frequently asks friends to read out her own diaristic content, while she inhabits other subjectivities by re-speaking the words of people living and dead: friends, anonymous YouTube users and historical figures of influence. The material perpetually shifts around but is locally grounded in its means of production – based in queerness, communality, technology, language and loss.
Luke Willis Thompson works across film, performance and installation. His films examine the relationship between a person and their representation. For the Turner Prize, Thompson presents a trilogy of works on 35mm film: Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries, autoportrait and _Human. In these three films, Thompson reframes histories of violence enacted against certain bodies, and offers counter-images to the media spectacle of our digital age.
Thompson was born in 1988 in New Zealand, and attended Elam School of Fine Arts University in Auckland and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. His works have been included in exhibitions such as the São Paulo Biennale, the Montréal Biennale, the Asia-Pacific Triennial, Queensland, and the New Museum Triennial, New York. Thompson was awarded the Walters’ Prize (New Zealand’s premier contemporary art prize) in 2014, and won the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2018.
The work for which he was nominated, originally commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, is the 35mm film autoportrait, a filmic portrait of Diamond Reynolds. In July 2016, Reynolds used Facebook Live to broadcast the moments immediately after the fatal shooting of her partner Philando Castile by a police officer during a traffic-stop in Minnesota, United States. Reynolds’ video circulated widely online and amassed over six million views. In November 2016, Thompson contacted Reynolds to invite her to collaborate on a project, which would act as a ‘sister-image’ to her video broadcast, and break with her more publicly consumed image.
The Turner Prize 2018 is on view from 26 September 2018 until 6 January 2019 at Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom.
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- Jameel Prize 5: challenging the Western art canon at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London – November 2018 – Art Radar has a look at the Jameel Prize 5 exhibition at the V&A in London
- A filmic narrative: revision and reconstruction of history in the work of Kemang Wa Lehulere – artist profile– October 2018 – Wa Lehulere reflects upon education under Apartheid, the instrumentalisation of religion, communication and the erasure of collective memory
- “There Is No Last Man”: British-Bangladeshi artist Naeem Mohaiemen at MoMA PS1 – March 2018 – Art Radar has a look at the artist’s latest solo exhibition in New York, “There Is No Last Man”
- “I Wish to Let You Fall Out of My Hands (Chapter I)”: Bangladeshi filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen and Pakistani artist Bani Abidi – in conversation – February 2018 – the show examines longing, memory, identity, dislocation and loss through architecture, form and space