The Turner Prize
Cosmopolitan, colourful and highly diverse, London is a major centre for British art. It is famed not only for being home to some of the world’s greatest museums, but also one of Europe’s greatest artistic awards, the Turner Prize.
Named after the famous London-based painter JMW Turner, the Turner prize was inaugurated in 1984 as a means of spreading awareness of contemporary art in the UK. Each edition features four contemporary British artists under the age of 50, nominated for an exhibition or presentation from the previous year, with the winner chosen by an independent panel of judges.
Contemporary art’s 'hall of fame'
The award – held at Tate Britain and on alternate years, a venue outside London – comes with a prize of £40,000 and invariably ensures the artist’s place in contemporary art’s hall of fame; previous winners include Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Grayson Perry.
The four shortlisted artists display their work at the annual Turner Prize exhibition, which is open to the public. This year’s nominees are some of the most audacious yet, with their group exhibition described by the Guardian’s Adrian Searle as being ‘full of curiosity, speculation and whimsy’.
In the videos below, watch a selection of interviews with the nominated artists, and scroll down to find out more about their work.
This year’s shortlist
Anthea Hamilton’s iconic backside, or 'butt;, is an example of her interest in making oversized interpretations of works by other artists – in this case, an unrealised design for a New York apartment doorway by architect Gaetano Pesce. In the video above, Hamilton talks about audience interaction with her objects and explains why Pesce’s provocative design prompted her to build her own version.
Since graduating from the Ruskin School of Art in 2008, Helen Marten has been manipulating objects from everyday life to create new forms. Marten discusses the ambiguity of her work in the video above, describing how she mixes cultural references to encourage the viewer to consider the material world in a fresh light.
Using earthy materials like concrete, sand and soil, Newcastle-born Michael Dean makes sculptures that explore the way language and communication can have a physical form and create subjective meanings. In the short video above, the artist talks about channelling his own emotions and memories into his objects, whilst acknowledging that each viewer will take something different away from their experience of the work.
Josephine Pryde’s work draws on ideas of travel, selfhood and free speech, and her Turner Prize exhibition explores these themes using objects as diverse as upended kitchen surfaces and a miniature train. The video above follows the artist through urban spaces as she reveals the importance of these concepts to her practice.
As ever, the Turner Prize 2016 is emblematic of the current artistic climate in Britain. This year’s prize is guaranteed to spark lively debate and remains a key fixture in the international contemporary art calendar.