The Turner Prize 2009
I must say, I found the Turner Prize very disappointing this year. In previous years it’s been all-to-easy to poke fun at the preposterous and pretentious rubbish that these so-called artists pride themselves on… people dressed as bears, flashing lights, planks of wood on the floor, mannequins on toilets and old sheds. But this year it seems that there are a few pieces I would describe as art and actually demonstrate some artistic talent. Okay, I say this as someone who is a bit of a philistine and was utterly hopeless at art during my school years. But look at Enrico David’s Harlequin-style pictures and sculptures… I wouldn’t pay 50p to see them, but unlike laying a piece of wood or a half-eaten bowl of porridge on the floor I’d have to admit I couldn’t create anything like that.
Roger Hiorns created some sculptures (or do we call them ‘installations’?) and they look fairly boring. One is called IBM and looks like something from the inside of a futuristic toilet cistern. Another of his installations is a fire in a grate, which I’m sure is something we’ve never seen before. But Roger did see fit to encrust an abandoned London flat with liquid copper sulphate, so he’s a worthy nominee in the Turner Prize tradition. Could I have done that? I don’t know – I don’t think it ever would have occurred to me to try it. Roger clearly has too much time on his hands.
Lucy Skaer created some sculptures and pictures, and quite frankly they’re not wacky or pointless enough for me to take the p*ss out of. They’re just a bit boring. Don’t feel too bad Lucy, I’m a philistine and I looked at the pictures of your works for about 2.7 seconds. My opinion is worth nothing.
Now we come to Richard Wright. Not the late Pink Floyd legend. I’m referring to the man who “combines graphic imagery and intricate patterning from sources as varied as medieval painting, graphics and typography”. And also exhibits some shelves as art. Often you place your art on shelves, but this piece of art is actually shelves. This is what most of us call ‘furniture’.
But to give Richard his dues, I actually find one of his pieces (using “gouache and enamel on paper”) quite impressive to look at. I like the shapes and the symmetry, and the way it reminds me of a pre-historic cave painting with an organic feel. No, I’m not being sarcastic, I actually genuinely do like it. Maybe it’s a bit too busy to be a Windows backdrop though. At least I now know what gouache paint is, so I’ve expanded my knowledge of the world, thanks to the Turner Prize.
So who won? It was Richard Wright, which was the right (no pun intended) decision. What is happening here? Come on artists… let’s see a ventriloquist’s doll dressed as Hitler on a unicycle carrying a bottle of bile next year please.