On the opening night of the Turner Prize 2011, BALTIC reached capacity at around 7pm. From then on it was strictly a one-in-one-out policy as art fans snaked all the way back to the Millennium bridge to see what has been dubbed ‘Arguably the world’s most prestigious and best known award for contemporary art.’
This is the first year that the Turner Prize hasn’t been hosted by a Tate venue. As the queues both outside the building and down the stairwell leading to the exhibition showed no sign of dying down, the opening time on the third floor was extended for an hour. Strangers chatted in the glass elevators that rise and fall on the face of the building, people in the second floor discussion cafe swapped pencils to write down their thoughts on the nominees and there was a buzz that extended far beyond the DJ’s in the booth at the Preview Party.
Karla Black’s sculptures and installations climb all over the room she has filled on the third floor. Crumbled bath bombs, chalks, shampoo and shaving foam explode from sheets of cellophane and paper. “A painting is an escape, it’s supposed to take us elsewhere. Sculpture is the opposite. It’s absolutely here and rooted … It’s its physicality that really matters.”
Martin Boyce has created an interactive landscape that includes a library table, fallen leaves and a patterned ventilation grid. Most of his work since 2005 has been influenced by an image of four concrete trees by the artists Jan and Joel Martel.“If the trees were made of concrete what were the leaves made of – and what happening in the autumn? Did fragments of concrete fall from the trees?”
Hilary Lloyd says that she isn’t a filmmaker. She just uses film and video “like you’d use pencil or a pair of scissors.” What makes her work unique is that what is filmed is what you see. There is no editing process; rather a collaged effect is created with various images shown simultaneously.
“There’s an idea with art that you should ‘get it’ and I don’t think that’s it at all.”
George Shaw’s exhibition, The Sly and Unseen Day, was on show at BALTIC earlier this year. Shaw says his ambition was “to make a painting that my professor of fine art could talk about with my mum – nether of them condescending to each other.”
Shaw seems to want to bypass that special language that seems to be needed to understand contemporary art and to focus instead on communication.
The Turner Prize
The winner of the Turner Prize will be announced at BALTIC on Monday 5 December 2011.
For more information go to www.tate.org.uk.
You can join the Turner Prize debate on Twitter by using the hashtag #TP2011.
by Katherine Wildman © 2011
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