Covering a range of hard-hitting topics, each nominee has presented entirely moving image-based works
Forget sculptures, forget paintings; this year’s Turner Prize show – unveiled at the Tate Britain today – has truly embraced the present day. For the first time ever, the four artists shortlisted – Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson – are presenting works which are entirely moving image. And what’s more, they’re brimming with radicalism.
With issues such as queer identity, race issues, police brutality, global human rights abuses, and immigration depicted in the shortlisted works, the exhibition is a hard-hitting step forward from its previous iterations. It’s also actively targetting a young artist, by offering anyone under 25, free entry for the first 25 days that it’s open.
Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain, told the Guardian that it was the most political exhibition in its 34-year-old history. “It feels like a Turner prize that is very much of our times,” he said. “I just think this is an incredibly political moment on all levels, in Europe, in America and many regions of the world. So the Turner prize brings all that home.”
Forensic Architecture presents its findings on the Bedouin communities of the Naqab/Negev region of southern Israel – specifically footage from an Israeli police raid on January 18, 2017, in which two people died.
Naeem Mohaiemen brings Tripoli Cancelled (2017), a three-hour-long fiction film which documents the daily life of a man stranded in an abandoned airport for a decade – inspired by the artist’s own father who spent nine days in Athens airport.
Charlotte Prodger’s BRIDGIT is her most autobiographical work to date, shot entirely on an iPhone over the course of a year. With recordings of the Scottish countryside, her home, diaries, and quotes from queer figures, the film chronicles the experiences that shaped her coming out and coming to terms with her identity.
Finally, Luke Willis Thompson presents a trilogy of works on 35mm film, shown for the first time together; Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries, autoportrait and _Human. autoportrait, a short film featuring Diamond Reynolds – who was Philando Castile’s girlfriend at the time of his killing by police in 2016 – has previously drawn criticisms from art world figures due to the trauma of its subject and turning PoC suffering into spectacle.
This year’s winner will be announced on December 4, at an awards ceremony broadcast live on the BBC and receive a prize of £25,000, with each of the nominees being awarded £5,000 each.