Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Elizabeth Price is the winner of the 2012 Turner Prize

Elizabeth Price, the vivacious video artist, has won the Turner Prize 2012. Considered one of the most prestigious awards in the international art world, the prize worth £25,000 honors the Yorkshire-born practitioner this year.

The prestigious prize is given to a British artist under 50 judged to have put up the best solo of the last year under consideration. Price makes use of archival images and other forms to explore the strands of complex relationship in context of today’s changing values. Actor Jude Law presented her with the award at London’s Tate Britain. During the acceptance speech, the artist gave credit for her recognition to comprehensive school education, stating her art career would be ‘unimaginable’ sans public support for the arts.

The other nominees for 2012 were video artist Luke Fowler, Paul Noble, a visual artist, and performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd. Price, interestingly, is the least well known and a very low-key one of the shortlisted artists. She conceded that she herself was a bit ‘surprised’ to win the award.

For her solo (HERE) at BALTIC, Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, Price reanimated existing archives, employing music, imagery and texts. The idea was to explore our complex relationships to burgeoning consumer culture. The carefully sequenced films guided through immersive virtual spaces that were derived from the material world’s debris.

Price had created immersive video installations that incorporated different media and forms of expression including photography and physical collections of art so as to invent new, somewhat apocalyptic narratives. In the show, each video opened by establishing a specific setting: a sculpture gallery, a wrecked container ship right at the bottom of the vast sea, or an auditorium. She drew upon photographic archives, artifacts’ collections and historical film to create fantasy episodes.

Human action, rarely directly featured, with the drama primarily expressed utilizing objects. These stand in for humans, used for presenting institutional contexts, social histories and aspirational desires. The reoccurring concerns of both commodity culture and consumerism are explored by singling out specific objects, which turn expressions of existence, human relationships and complex social ideas. The exhibition included a video, titled ‘West Hinder’ that explored these themes via a ‘ruined cargo’. Guiding a descent to the wreck site, it combined a chorus of synthetic voices with motion graphics.

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