What Can We Expect From the Turner Prize Show This Fall? The Four Finalists Discuss the Works That Earned Them the Nod for the Top Award

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This spring, Tate Britain announced the four artists shortlisted for the 2023 Turner Prize, the most prestigious contemporary art award in the U.K.

Along with an exhibition of their work at Towner Eastbourne, a museum on the southeast coast of England, the shortlisted artists will all receive a cash prize: £25,000 ($31,000) for the overall winner and £10,000 ($12,000) each to the other artists. The winner will be announced on 5 December, at an award ceremony in Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens.

The shortlisted artists were chosen by a jury of experts, which included Martin Clark, director of the Camden Art Centre; Cédric Fauq, chief curator of Capc musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux; Melanie Keen, director of Wellcome Collection; and Helen Nisbet, artistic director of Art Night, chaired by Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain. Here’s what to expect from each artist in the show, ahead of its opening on 24 September.

 

Jesse Darling

Jesse Darling, “No Medals No Ribbons,” installation view at Modern Art Oxford, 2022. Photo: Ben Westaby. © Modern Art Oxford.

Age: 41

Nominated for: Solo exhibitions” No Medals, No Ribbons” at Modern Art Oxford and “Enclosures” at Camden Art Centre

What the jury said: Darling’s manipulation of materials “in ways that skillfully express the messy reality of life,” was a pointed out in particular by the jurors, who felt that Darling’s work exposed the world’s “underlying fragility.”

In their own words: Writing in an Instagram post last year about the show that got him nominated, Darling said: “I’m having an exhibition of the last 10 years of my work, and it’s happening in my hometown on a full circle Ferris wheel roll up vibe. Venice Biennale was a fancy gig but not as wild a feeling as seeing my flyer in the local chippy. Though why am I conflicted and haunted by many ghosts, is it the war weather or the retrospective? Thinking of everyone who made me what I am for well and for ill, and f— it, I’m still alive even if “mid-career” means half-embalmed in the zombie art circus. And I still got work to do in this world goddamit.”

 

Barbara Walker

Barbara Walker, “Burden of Proof” (2022), installation view: Sharjah Biennial 15, Old Diwan Al Amiri, 2023. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation with the support of The Whitworth, The University of Manchester. Photo: Danko Stjepanovic.

Age: 58

Nominated for: “Burden of Proof” at Sharjah Biennial 15.

What the jury said: Jurors praised Walker for her use of portraits at a “monumental scale” to tell stories of a “similarly monumental nature,” particularly highlighting one work—an installation wall drawing in the Sharjah Biennial.

In their own words: Walker spoke last year about the show that got her nominated in a video published by the Sharjah Art Foundation.

“I’ve been developing a series of drawings that reflects on individuals and families experiencing stories that have been affected by the Windrush scandal,” Walker said, referring to the political scandal that started in 2018, when British citizens mainly of Caribbean descent were detained, denied legal rights, and threatened with deportation. “Some even lost their home and income and were categorized as illegal immigrants,” Walker explained.

In Sharjah, Walker presented eight framed portraits of individuals swept up by the Home Office’s “hostile environment” policies, which led to the scandal, with the backgrounds reproducing documents that were presented as evidence by the government for these citizens being wrongly categorized as illegal immigrants. “There isn’t a blueprint. The work happens as it develops,” Walker said of the series. “What preoccupied me was the creation of wall drawing portraits of three of the survivors.”

 

Rory Pilgrim

Rory Pilgrim, (2022), HD Video Still (l :06:55). Courtesy andriesse~eyck galerie.

Age: 35

Nominated for: the commission at Serpentine and Barking Town Hall, and a live performance of the work at Cadogan Hall in London

What the jury said: Jurors called the project a “standout example of social practice” in art and called Pilgrim’s musical arrangements “beautiful and affecting.”

In their own words: “Making connections between work, mental health, home, recovery, and our environment, additional voices of people from near and far join the chorus, including members of Barking and Dagenham Youth Dance and Project Well Being: a group for people experiencing homelessness in Boise, Idaho,” Walker wrote about the show that got them nominated in an Instagram post last year.

 

Ghislaine Leung

Ghislaine Leung, “Fountains,” installation view at Simian, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2023. Courtesy the artist and Simian, Copenhagen; and Maxwell Graham, New York; and Cabinet, London. Photo: GRAYSC

Age: 42

Nominated for: her solo exhibition “Fountains” at Simian in Copenhagen

What the jury said: The jury felt that Leung’s work exuded “warm, humorous and transcendental qualities” which challenged “the way art is produced and circulated,” establishing the gallery as a co-performer for her “score-based” work.

In their own words: “The term ‘shedding light’ is often used in the context of explanatory texts. I have dozens of photos I have tried to take of some weird thing in the inside of my mouth using the flash on my phone, or sometimes a combination of torch and flash, awkwardly both positioned in one hand. To see some little fleshy nodule or chewed bit of mouth. And the photos are inevitably over or under exposed or blurry or at the wrong angle,” Leung said of her work, in the publication “Illumination is perhaps not the same as more light, it is often something that happens in and because of the dark.”

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