Review on Turner prize 2006

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007 (Posted 14 years, 8 months ago)

As a spectator, it is always easy to judge a piece of artwork, but not to compose one. About this year’s Turner Prize, I guess many people have already made their own mind about who is going to win, and the most important thing is who is going to take the 25,000 home. The Turner Prize, is it held simply as a competition, or does it pretty much contain a commercial value? Were the artists asked to make art-works for the prize or did they actually art for the art itself? From an artistic point of view, instead of predicting who will be the winner, I would rather prefer to discuss what kind of interpretations I had through their artworks, and try to figure out why their works are so significant among contemporary art practice today.

When I arrived at Tate Britain, the first thing that I addressed myself to was the balance of the competition this year. Among the four short listed, there are two women artists who were selected in this year. It seems that Women artists are very much valued at this time. It also indicates that the character of today’s women artist has become more perceptible and vivid. Tomma Abts, came out with her pure and rational paintings, whose size are exquisite and make viewers feel not overwhelming indeed. However, her paintings are also sensitive which implicates the significance of variety, spirituality, mercuriality and also contains mellowness. Immediately, I did an on-the-scene interview at the gallery. People had extreme estimations of her work. Some were highly appreciative; of course, there ware some who could not believe that she could be selected for this competition because a BA artist did the paintings likely. It is good to be controversial which can be seen as another character of contemporary art.

Rebecca Warren is also a women artist, who brings a new historical view towards sculptures and installations. From the image of the perfect Greek statue to the beautifully structured features of Renaissance sculpture, the standard value of western sculpture has already inherited old generations, and is rooted in people’s mind. Currently, when people realize that it seems every object must be polished in today’s urban space, our lives are very much occupied by materialism, Warren’s sculptures denied all these. She refuses to shape the sculptures in a formal way. She left them in a free atmosphere. It seems that she wanted to let the sculptures grow in a natural environment. Her sculptures were primitive-looking and undorned. When you actually walk into her exhibiting space, you may not be highly satisfied or even confuse about whether those pieces are unfinished or less enjoyable, nevertheless you may miss the moment when you were in the room because the reality is that we often miss the infinite feeling, the simplicity and hopefulness.

‘Can you draw a picture of God?’ according to Mark Titchner, his work was very much influenced by his childhood. From his ‘ how to change behaviour’, I was aware of the combination of western and eastern philosophy. From an eastern point of view, I recognized a sense of rebirth and transmigration. The relationship between nature and industrialization, the individual and the community are also signified through his work. Furthermore, his work is also very interactive. As a spectator, when one look at an artwork, the physical reflection comes first, and then through the interpretation we analyze and theorize the meaning of it. A powerful piece may change the way of your brain works and end up affecting your philosophy of life. Titchner helps us to experience and analyze our view of life through his view and art.

Phil Collins invites you to his ‘talk show’. The documentary was filmed in Turkey which were spoke about the ‘before and after’ of plastic surgery. By experiencing the shows, people share life experiences through each other’s stories. However, the argument here is that unless you have been filmed, would you act the same? And what kind of role do media play today? What is going on behind the screen? Let us discover it! He even moves a talk show studio to the exhibition, which factually presented the mysterious space (the studio behind the screen) to the audience. The experience now is not only on the surface but also reach to the beneath, to its essence. It is more like a three-dimensional documentary that one can observe on the screen, can discover the processing of it, and you are also a guest who had already been invited to the show.

It seems that the unlimited possibility of contemporary art has been fully experienced in this year’s Turner prize. They all embodied with personalities and characters. They are all professional but also personal. If there must be a winner, he or she will win because of the historical time but not the accomplishment.

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