I cannot begin to explain the disappointment I had in viewing the current finalists for the Turner Prize at the Tate Britain. But, as this is becoming an all too familiar tale, I am not going to comment on that any further. Instead, I thought I’d use this opportunity to comment on the one artist who has earned his bread in being there. Paul Noble’s drawings are delicate, intricate and highly skilled images which take you into another world. The geometric patterns and interlacing layers of his pencil drawings reminded me of M.C. Escher but the landscapes that he creates with their minutiae and surreal detail were more like Dali. Noble creates scenes that represent a future otherworld, with narratives that are intriguing, familiar and humorous. It’s no surprise to me that he is the bookies’ favourite to win.
Like Milly, I was also disappointed in the entries for the Turner Prize this year. While I did enjoy Paul Noble’s drawings, for me the artist that should be the clear winner is Elizabeth Price, with her video piece The Woolworths Choir of 1979 (2012).
This clever montage of found images and recordings combines historic footage from a fire in the Manchester branch of Woolworths in 1979, including scenes of the fire and interviews with survivors and eye-witnesses, with close-up images and explanations of the architecture of a choir stall in a Gothic church. All of these changing scenes are narrated as if in a silent film, with words coming up on the screen and set to music, and loud interrupting claps and bangs. The overall effect is almost lyrical, and the repetitions of words and scenes are revisited much like a bridge or chorus in a song. Price has really created something unique and new from old and dated sources, in a very watchable way- this alone made her piece stand out from some of the others, which, in my opinion, have simply tried to hard to be different and push the boundaries of modern art. As for the installation and performances pieces by Spartacus Chetwynd, and the photographs and video by Luke Fowler exploring the life and motives of Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, there was really no comparison with the work of Price.
A snippet of the works on show, courtesy of www.artlyst.com can be seen below:
Time to make up your own mind? The Turner Prize 2012 is on at Tate Britain until 6th January 2013