Skip to comments.Turner Prize won by man who turns the lights off
Posted on 12/09/2001 3:53:58 PM PST by Pokey78
THE £20,000 annual Turner Prize, sometimes also known as the Prize for the Emperor's New Clothes, was awarded last night to an artist who exhibited an empty room with lights that flicker on and off every five seconds.
Martin Creed had warned that people should not look for too much meaning in his Work 227: The lights going on and off. Enthusiasts had called it a statement against the clutter and consumerism in the world.
When his entry for the Turner Prize exhibition was unveiled at the Tate Britain in London last month, it met with a mixture of incredulity, attempts at deep philosophising and plain outrage.
Several visitors walked out, saying the exhibit was unfit to be considered for the most celebrated prize in the art world.
Even by the standards of a prize that has been contested by Chris Offili's elephant dung paintings, Tracey Emin's soiled bed and dirty knickers and Damien Hirst's sliced and pickled animals, Creed's work is widely considered exceptionally odd and is likely to quicken debate about the prize's future.
After seeing the work of the four artists shortlisted this year, many critics said the prize, for British artists under 50, had plumbed new depths, was run by a self-selecting cabal and should, after a 17-year run, be put out of its misery.
Artists are selected for the exhibition on the basis of their body of work and then choose what they display.
The other shortlisted artists were: Mike Nelson, favourite with bookmakers to win, who works with rubbish and exhibited a labyrinth of planks; Richard Billingham, who exhibited photos and videos of his family, notably his alcoholic father who lives in a Glasgow slum; and Isaac Julien, who exhibited short films featuring homosexual cowboys.
At the award ceremony last night, Creed, 33, was presented with his prize by the singer Madonna. Other guests included the designer Stella McCartney and the comedian Graham Norton.
Previous work by Creed, who was brought up in Glasgow by Quaker parents, include a scrunched-up piece of plain A4 paper, a ball of Blu Tak stuck to a wall, and several neon signs bearing messages such as The Whole World + The Work = The Whole World and Everything Is Going To Be All Right.
The artist, who recently moved to the island of Alicudi, near Sicily, says his work is about the qualities of "nothing".
He has said of The lights going on and off that "it activates the whole of the space it occupies without anything physically being added and I like that because in a way it's a really big work with nothing being there".
He added: "If I can make something without adding any objects I feel more comfortable. It's like, if I can't decide whether to have the lights on or off then I have them both on and off and I feel better about it.
"My work is about 50 per cent what I make of it and 50 per cent what people make of it. Meanings are made in people's heads. I can't control them."
The judges of the prize, chaired by Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Galleries, were more assertive. They insisted last night that The lights going on and off had qualities of "strength, rigour, wit and sensitivity to the site".
Mr Simon Wilson, the Tate's communications curator, said: "Creed has said we live in a world full of objects. He wants to make art that doesn't contribute to that clutter. He wants to make art where he is doing as little as possible that is consistent with doing something.
"One year we have dirty knickers on show and people complain about that - and then when you have something as pure and as spiritual as this they still complain.
"Creed is a kind of very pure extreme kind of artist. The fact that many people find his work so baffling indicates that he's working on the edge."
As to why the flickering lights are artistic, Mr Wilson said: "He's making a work of art by manipulating the existing mechanism of the gallery light system."
He was honoured for "enriching" the Florence International Biennale Exhibition of Contemporary Art after contributing 20 lithographs of watercolours depicting his country estates.
The purple hair-nose ring-tattooo crowd, however, finds her work seriously lacking in "content."
"Content" is the subversive, offensive, or nihilistic memaning you can torture from any given work of art, if you have a high enough talent in BS.
She is going to get a master's in art therapy and work with disturbed children. She is going to paint for pleasure and for the market, which will appreciate her things. The art world is a giant sham, and this is a prime example.
Bareback riders, no doubt. "It woulda been
a feature film, but Bruce just doesn't have
the staying power he used to."
Forgive me, but the world of academe appears
to be no less giant a sham.
self-ping so I can watch the fight develope on this on!
And why do you say this? Some of what you say I agree with, but the universities are conducting a great deal of very fine research. For example, in semiconductors and quantum well devices.
I am being dense tonight. :) (neutronium LOL!!)
Then, give it to your daughter.
I do not consider this a scam, since she will be taking classes in biology, psychology, and other hard academic courses. The only school in our state which carries this specialty is Notre Dame.
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