Dexter Dalwood, Angela de la Cruz, Susan Philipsz and The Otolith Group are on the 2010 Turner Prize shortlist.
Dalwood has been included for paintings which draw on art history while De la Cruz is up for paintings and sculptures “that evoke memory and desire”.
Philipsz creates sound installations using her singing voice while The Otolith Group “investigate overlooked histories” using archival material.
The winner will be announced on 6 December after an exhibition of works.
London-based painter Dalwood, 49, has used the death of government weapons expert Dr David Kelly and the Charles Manson murders as subject matter.
De la Cruz, also based in London, tears and folds her paintings before displaying them in doorways, corners or on the gallery floor.
The Otolith Group – Anjalika Sagar, 42, and Kodwo Eshun, 44, who both live and work in London – have worked on projects including a film which depicts sweatshop workers in Mumbai (Bombay) producing goods in extreme conditions.
Glaswegian Susan Philipsz, 44, meanwhile, is best known for replaying recordings of herself, singing well-known songs, over the public address systems of venues including a busy bus station and a supermarket.