Turner Prize finalists at their most political

An installation by London-based Forensic Architecture, which uses architectural rendering software to investigate potential war crimes.
An installation by London-based Forensic Architecture, which uses architectural rendering software to investigate potential war crimes.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • One nominee shot her film on an iPhone over a year, with a turbulent global political environment inspiring all four finalists in this year's Turner Prize for contemporary art.

The exhibition of the shortlisted artists at Tate Britain gallery in London opens today and will run till Jan 6 while the winner of the £25,000 (S$45,000) prize will be announced in December.

The works tackle themes such as immigration, racism and identity.

They are set in locations as varied as the Scottish countryside, the Negev region of southern Israel and the streets of urban America.

"I think the political nature of the show is a sign of the times and how artists can react to the context in which they're making the works," Ms Elsa Coustou, a co-curator, said.

She added that the four artists were responding to "urgent questions" and opening themselves to other disciplines such as documentary film-making and journalism with their use of video.

One of the nominees, London-based Forensic Architecture, uses architectural rendering software to investigate potential war crimes.

Its submission investigates an Israeli police raid to clear an unrecognised Bedouin village in the Negev desert in which two people died.

New Zealander Luke Willis Thompson made a black-and-white silent film portrait of Ms Diamond Reynolds, who live-streamed the immediate aftermath of her African-American boyfriend's death during a traffic stop in the United States.

Glasgow-based artist Charlotte Prodger was praised by jurors for "the nuanced way in which she deals with identity politics, particularly from a queer perspective".

The jury said films made by the fourth nominee, Naeem Mohaiemen, "explore post-colonial identity, migration, exile and refuge".

His fictional film, Tripoli Cancelled, tracks the daily routine of a man who spends a decade alone living in an abandoned airport.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2018, with the headline 'Turner Prize finalists at their most political'. Print Edition | Subscribe