TURNER PRIZE 2007 – PRIZE DAY REPORT
By Charles Thomson, Co-founder of the Stuckists, 3.12.07
The Turner Prize
The Turner Prize would have been more aptly named after a different Victorian painter, Edwin Long – fashionably famous, now famously forgotten.
The only feasible explanation for Turner Prize entries is that Sir Nicholas Serota is an alien, who has abducted helpless young art students into his space ship, and reprogrammed them to produce utter bilge. The less anything has any resemblance to art, the more likely it is to win.
It is Turner Prize as usual: pretentious, futile and boring. The Tate deludes itself that the reduced level of complaints about the Prize shows the public has been won over. It actually demonstrates the loss of interest, now that what seemed to be a dangerous maniac in the village has turned out to be a harmless, albeit self-obsessed, eccentric. The Turner Prize is a feeble spectacle, which history will find of no more interest than a gardener finds a dead snail.
It’s worth £25,000 to know he won’t be back for a third time. His video has all the excitement of watching a pensioner do the shopping at Asda. If this is art then so is Donald Duck. Turner is not famous for being an idiot in a bear costume. Wallinger could at least have done something useful and taken round a charity collection box. His antics look like the behaviour of a new Harry Enfield character, Kevin the Artist. His work fails miserably as art, but he would probably make an excellent children’s entertainer, if he livened up a bit.
When I was at Junior School, the teacher got us all to run around pretending we were animals. Some of us were given gold stars, but I don’t think we deserved £25,000. Mark Wallinger should have been allowed to play more when he was a child. He bares his soul to us, and the result is predictably unbearable.
Mark Wallinger’s bear is a copy cat. Seven years ago as a protest at its absurdity, the Stuckists dressed up in costumes and walked round the Turner Prize show. The Stuckists deserve the Prize for doing it first.
It looks like Frankenstein’s GCSE project. It has the panache of a collection of rejects from ‘Flog It!’. The only thing remarkable about it is its inanity, and how anyone could kid themselves it’s worth bothering with. It’s pretentious, gawky and conceptually abysmal. It looks like something assembled by some dustmen as a joke. It has as much substance as a plastic bag. He is doing his best to create something meaningful, but is not very good at it, and should consider retraining as an accountant.
He should get a Truth Prize for proclaiming, “There will be no miracles here,” though he ought to have added, “There will be no art here either”.
Alternatively he could be given a Dad of the Year Award for making a nice dolls house. It is another example of the Tate deluding itself that the commonplace becomes something extraordinary as soon as someone calls it art.
It’s business as usual: the Turner Prize has always been money for old rope. It looks as if she sorted her holiday snaps into two piles and threw away the good ones by mistake. It’s lacklustre documentary photography with pretentious titles. People usually make films like hers, when they leave the camcorder running by mistake. The video should be made available on the NHS as a cure for insomnia. Reasonable effort for a beginner, but must learn to take the picture quicker, before the people run away: a lot of room for improvement.
If you point your camera at things that matter, you become a famous photo-journalist; if you point it at things that don’t, you end up in the Turner Prize. She has managed the rare achievement of making a place where remarkable vistas abound look as interesting as a back street in Battersea. She has proved the answer is not sisal blowing in the wind, and that
watching rope drying is about as interesting as watching paint drying.
Hopefully he’ll take the £5,000 consolation prize and take the hint. He’s fast becoming the Tate’s version of Eddie the Eagle. His work has provided the answer to a previously unasked riddle, ‘when does a maze not amaze?’. He’s forgotten to include the Daleks – the Doctor Who designers did it much better. Why didn’t the London Planetarium win the Turner Prize? The less anything resembles art, the more likely it is to win. Give the man his Blue Peter badge. Completely off beam as an artist, but an adequate stage hand.
The Tate is unable to tell the difference between an art gallery and Alton Towers. Mike Nelson has great opportunities in town planning. He made a maze for people to get lost in: thousands of people have already had the same experience trying to leave Lakeside shopping centre. Visitors to both are provoked to fundamental thought, namely: ‘How do you get out of this place?’