The Turner Prize is awarded annually to an artist under fifty, born, living or working in Britain, for an outstanding exhibition or public presentation of their work anywhere in the world in the previous year. The four shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize 2016 are:
Helen Marten – Winner
Helen Marten uses sculpture, screen printing and her own writing to produce installations that are full of references, from the contemporary to the historical, and the everyday to the enigmatic. For the Turner Prize she brings together a range of handmade and found objects drawn from daily life and more unusual sources (including cotton buds, coins, shoe soles, limes, marbles, eggs, snooker chalk and snakeskin). Her collage-like gatherings of objects and images have a playful intent, creating poetic visual puzzles that seem to invite us into a game or riddle.
Marten’s exhibition space is divided into three sections. Each suggests a workstation or terminal where some unknown human activity has been interrupted. When we encounter her installations, it is as if Marten asks us to become archaeologists of our own times, and to consider familiar items as if we are seeing them for the first time. In the process, these objects may become strange and abstract – ‘husked down’, Marten says, ‘to geometric memories of themselves’, that can be remodelled to give rise to new and unexpected stories or ideas.
Marten encourages us to look very closely at the items she makes and the materials she uses, and to reconsider the images and objects we surround ourselves with in the modern world.
Helen Marten was born in 1985 in Macclesfield. She lives and works in London.
Michael Dean starts his work with writing – which he then gives physical form. He creates moulds and casts of his words, abstracting and distorting them into an alphabet of human-scale shapes, using materials that are instantly recognisable from everyday life such as concrete, steel, soil, sand and corrugated sheet metal.
Dean’s sculptures aren’t intended to be read as recognisable words, but he does want us to see an element of language in their forms – to be able to imagine a word or idea. Parts of his sculptures often resemble the human body: tongues, limbs, eyes, and casts of his family’s fists appear among the forms – directly referring to our bodies as we move through the gallery and around his works.
The work (United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016) consists of £20,436 in pennies. This is the amount of money the government states is the minimum that two adults and two children need to survive for a year in the UK. When installing the work, Dean removed one coin, meaning that now the money you see before you is one penny less than the poverty line.
Michael Dean was born in 1977 in Newcastle upon Tyne. He lives and works in London.
Research is at the heart of Anthea Hamilton’s work, whether it is into art nouveau design, the roots of 1970’s disco or lichen. Each subject is studied closely and used as a lens through which to view the world. Hamilton talks of being strongly influenced by the early 20th century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud and his call for the ‘physical knowledge of images’.
It is this bodily response to an idea or an image that she wants us to experience when we encounter her work and its use of unexpected materials, scale and humour.
For the Turner Prize Hamilton re-stages the exhibition for which she was nominated at New York’s SculptureCenter, with wallpaper ‘bricks’ covering the walls. She has also made new works specifically for Tate including a floor to ceiling mural of the London sky at 3pm on a sunny day in June.
Project for a Door (After Gaetano Pesce) is a large backside (or ‘butt’) inspired by a photograph showing a model by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce. Originally intended as a doorway into a New York apartment block, the work was never realised. Project for a Door is part of a series by Hamilton of larger than life-size remakes, physical realisations of images taken from her archive.
Anthea Hamilton was born in 1978 in London. She lives and works in London.
Josephine Pryde uses photography and sculpture to explore the nature of image making and display. For the Turner Prize she has created new works using domestic kitchen worktops. To make these pieces, Pryde placed objects on the back of the worktops and then exposed them to sunlight in London, Athens and Berlin. The resulting marks are reminiscent of photograms, a cameraless photographic technique developed by early photographers but often associated with experimental 20th century photography. The works were made over the summer of 2016 and mark the time between the artist’s nomination for the Turner Prize and the opening of this exhibition.
The New Media Express in a Temporary Siding (Baby Wants To Ride) is a scale model of a Class 66 diesel locomotive and carriages in DB Schenker livery. The carriages are tagged by graffiti artists from the cities in which the train has previously been exhibited. For its presentation here at Tate Britain, the train, as the adapted title of the piece suggests, is temporarily static, elevated on a platform and awaiting its next move.
Pryde’s ongoing series of photographs, Hands “Für Mich”, resemble fashion or advertising images. They are closely cropped and focus on the models’ upper body and hands, which are touching objects such as phones, computer tablets, driftwood and notebooks. Our attention is drawn to the point at which the body and the object meet and to the gestures the hands perform.
Josephine Pryde was born in 1967 in Alnwick, Northumberland. She lives and works in London and Berlin.