This year’s Turner Prize shortlist has just been announced, with four artists competing for Britain’s foremost award for contemporary art. A diverse and intriguing selection, each explores oppression in a different way, and combine in their work a powerful mixture of the real and the imagined.
Jordanian Lawrence Abu Hamdan describes himself as an “audio investigator” who uses “ear witness” accounts of oppressed individuals. Helen Cammock unpicks social history through film, photography and other texts, while Tai Shani’s art is largely performance-based. Oscar Murillo is the only painter on the list.
Critics are already raving about the choices, with the Guardian’s Adrian Searle saying that there is “not a dud among them.” Unlike those years when “only one possible winner has been apparent from the time the shortlist has been announced,” 2019’s selection has “no clear contender.”
The relative strength of all the candidates is reflected in the bookmakers’ odds. Coral has Tai Shani the early favourite at 2/1. Oscar Murillo, the most well-known of the artists on the shortlist, is quoted at 5/2, with Cammock and Abu Hamdan both at 3/1.
All works will be displayed at a joint show in Margate from the 28th September this year, with the winner being announced on December 3rd.
The Turner Prize often finds itself criticised by more traditional art lovers yearning for more beauty and less politics. This year it is also came under fire from the other side of the political spectrum after bus company Stagecoach was named as the event’s lead sponsor. Stagecoach’s co-founder Sir Brian Souter has been frequently accused of homophobia due to his leading role in the campaign to keep the Section 28 laws in Scotland. The prize’s organisers today announced that they had ended the deal with Stagecoach.