FRENCH artist Laure Prouvost has won this year’s Turner Prize, the most prestigious award for the visual arts in Europe, for her video installation set in a mocked up tea party.
The video installation – called Wantee – by the London-based artist was lauded by judges as outstanding and moving.
Prouvost beat the bookies’ favourite, Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley, painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and performance artist Tino Sehgal to take the £25,000 prize at a ceremony last night in Derry-Londonderry, which is this year’s UK City of Culture.
Speaking at the award ceremony, the first time the annual art event had been held outside England, Prouvost, 35, said: “Thank you for adopting me, for having a French one, I feel adopted by the UK.”
Her installation weaves together art history and fiction in video form. The piece was originally intended as a response to the work of artist Kurt Schwitters, which was housed in part at Tate Britain.
The work brings together fictional family members who “knew” Schwitters, and is intended to explore “generational divides and artistic legacy”.
Featuring a range of pottery and tea sets, it is named after Schwitters’ girlfriend, who was nicknamed “Wantee” for her practice of asking all visitors whether they “want tea?”. The judges said they chose her work in part for its relevance in the “post-internet age”, saying the “topical” project used technology familiar to very young people.
Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain and chairman of the judges, said all the candidates were discussed “quite seriously”, during a three-hour deliberation.
“She had been a strong contender from the beginning, but when they came back [to the exhibition], it was interesting to see that they were touched again,” she said.
“She offered a lot, in different ways and at many different levels. It is something that was intimate but quite outward-facing. It looked backwards, in a way looking at a history of modernism, but also used new technology.”
Humourist Shrigley’s short-listed piece, Life Model, featured a wildly proportioned, jug-eared, two-metre-tall nude male animatron with a bucket placed on the floor between his legs.
The artist, who lives and works in Glasgow, is best known for his drawings that make witty and wry observations on everyday life. With Shrigley’s Life Model, visitors are invited to sit and draw the model and apparently they have done so in droves, their creations being then posted on the walls around the humanoid.
Berlin-based Sehgal’s work This Is Exchange consists of live “encounters” between interpreters dressed in black T-shirts and the audience.
Ghanaian Yiadom-Boakye was the first black woman to be in contention for the Turner Prize award.
Her portraits featured six imaginary people using invented pre-histories.