The artist who installed the fourth plinth sculpture in Trafalgar Square with a dollop of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a drone and a fly has been shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize.
Heather Phillipson joins Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Sin Wai Kin on this year’s shortlist for the award, as he returns to Liverpool for the first time in 15 years.
Artists vying for the world’s best-known visual art awards are using different media and forms of expression to help people reconnect with each other and the world around them as societies emerge from the pandemic .
Phillipson was nominated for her solo exhibition RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach at Tate Britain and her fourth Trafalgar Square plinth commission, THE END. Her practice involves collisions of different materials, media and gestures in what she calls “quantum thought experiments”.
The jury described the overwhelming experience of visiting Phillipson’s immersive exhibition at the Tate post-lockdown “and applauded the way it combines absurdity, tragedy and imagination to probe urgent and complex ideas “.
Pollard was nominated for her solo exhibition Carbon Slowly Turning at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. Working primarily in photography, but also in sculpture, film and sound, her work questions our relationship with the natural world and interrogates ideas such as Britishness, race and sexuality.
The Tate said Pollard’s work had for decades revealed stories and histories hidden in plain sight. “[The jury] were struck by bold new developments in Pollard’s recent work, in particular a new series of kinetic and anthropomorphic sculptures, which build on Pollard’s career-long investigation of the figure moving through space,” he added.
Nominated for her solo exhibition Along a Spectrum at Spike Island, Bristol, and her art commission Hackney Windrush in London, Ryan creates sculptural objects and installations using containers, compartments and combinations of natural and manufactured forms to reference displacement, fragmentation and alienation.
The jury praised his new work produced during a residency at Spike Island, which explores ecology, history and dislocation, as well as the psychological impact of the pandemic. They were struck by “the exquisite sensuality and tactility of his sculptures, both in the gallery and for public commission in Hackney”, the Tate said.
Sin was nominated for his involvement with the British Art Show 9 and his solo presentation at the Blindspot Gallery at London’s Frieze art fair. They tell stories through performance, moving image, writing and print.
Drawing on their own experience existing between binary categories, “their work constructs fictional narratives to describe lived realities of desire, identification and awareness,” Tate said. The jury highlighted Sin’s 2021 film Dream of Wholeness in Parts, in which traditional Chinese philosophy and dramaturgy intersect with contemporary drag, music and poetry.
The Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Founded in 1984, it bears the name of the radical British painter JMW Turner (1775-1851). Each year a winner receives £25,000 and £10,000 goes to each of the other shortlisted artists.
Tate Liverpool was the first gallery outside London to host the award in 2007 when it helped launch the city’s year as European Capital of Culture.
Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain and Co-Chair of the Turner Prize Jury, said: “With so many museums and galleries reopening in May 2021, it has been a great 12 months for contemporary British art, as evidenced by this exciting wealth and varied selection of the Turner Prize.
“Art has provided much-needed fun and escape over the past year, but it has also helped reconnect us with each other and the world around us, as evidenced by the practices of the four shortlisted artists. .”
Helen Legg, director of Tate Liverpool and co-chair of the Turner Prize jury, said: “The jury traveled across the country, taking advantage of the easing of the lockdown to enjoy the burst of creativity that has emerged from the pandemic. The result is a diverse group of artists, each with a singular vision, who impressed the judges with the intensity of the presentations, while addressing important issues facing our society today.
Last year’s award was won by Array Collective, a group of 11 artists from across the sectarian backgrounds in Northern Ireland. They beat out four other art collectives, the first time no individual artist has been shortlisted for the award.
This year’s winner will be announced at a ceremony in December and an exhibition of their work will be held at Tate Liverpool from 20 October 2022 to 19 March 2023.