Penny pieces, giant bum among Turner contenders

Michael Dean’s mini mountain of bronze onepenny pieces is the political talking point of the Turner Prize exhibition.
Michael Dean’s mini mountain of bronze onepenny pieces is the political talking point of the Turner Prize exhibition.PHOTO: REUTERS
Anthea Hamilton's work includes an almost 5m-high sculpture of a male backside.
Anthea Hamilton's work includes an almost 5m-high sculpture of a male backside.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Josephine Pryde's scale model of a graffitied diesel locomotive.
Josephine Pryde's scale model of a graffitied diesel locomotive.PHOTO: REUTERS

The four nominees include an artist whose restaging of a show features a sculpture of a male backside and chastity belts

LONDON • A large sculpture of a bare backside, a mountain of money and a model train: The Turner Prize once again looks set to divide the contemporary art world after unveiling the finalists in London on Monday.

The Tate Britain museum presented works by the four contenders for this year's award, whose winner will be announced on Dec 5. Named after English painter J.M.W. Turner, the £25,000 (S$44,000) prize is awarded to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition and has become synonymous with controversy in its 32-year history for its unconventional choices.

Among this year's nominees is Anthea Hamilton, whose Lichen! Libido! (London!) Chastity! is a restaging of an exhibition in New York. It features an almost 5m-high sculpture of a male backside and a series of metallic chastity belts suspended from the ceiling.

Michael Dean's Sic Glyphs combines works from two exhibitions consisting of sculptures made with corrugated metal.

We don't set out to be provocative, but sometimes there is a giant bum in the room.

MS LINSEY YOUNG, curator of contemporary art at Tate Britain, on how the jurors for the Turner Prize do not deliberately seek controversy

The centrepiece of his show is the exhibition's most overtly political piece, a mini mountain range consisting of £20,463 in bronze one-penny pieces. The sum of money is equal to the government's definition of the poverty line for a family of two adults and two children in Britain.

Ms Linsey Young, curator of contemporary art at Tate Britain, said: "He really wants us to think about what it means to live in a society, what it means to have responsibility for the people you love and the people who are around you."

Josephine Pryde's exhibition mixes photography and sculpture, using everyday materials including kitchen worktops bleached by sunlight in London, Athens and Berlin. Her most eye-catching work is a scale model of a diesel locomotive graffitied by artists from cities in which the train has been exhibited.

Helen Marten presents works that feature screen printing and sculptures. She fashions sculptures from unusual materials such as fish skin and snooker chalk.

Past winning entries have included Damien Hirst's bisected cow and calf preserved in formaldehyde and Tracey Emin's unmade bed, both of which triggered furious debate in Britain's media.

However, Ms Young insisted that the jurors - experts from the art world - did not deliberately seek controversy.

"We don't set out to be provocative, but sometimes there is a giant bum in the room," she said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Penny pieces, giant bum among Turner contenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe