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Hi, I'm Brenda Emmanus
and you are watching a Front Row Turner Prize special.
The Turner Prize is one of the highlights of the arts calendar
and ahead of the awards ceremony next Tuesday,
I've come to Hull, where four of the nominees of this coveted prize
are exhibiting their work.
Coming up, I meet with Hull-born Maureen Lipman
in the Ferens Art Gallery, for a personal tour around the exhibition.
Hurvin Anderson just puts his hand in paint.
Works inspired by satirical crockery, barbershops,
jaunty potatoes and the uncertainty of life in Gaza.
We showcase the four artists nominated for this year's prize.
In the studio, we will be discussing what the Turner Prize
reveals about the current state of British contemporary art.
And playing live, Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed.
The Turner Prize is probably Britain's most notorious arts prize.
Think unmade beds, pickled cows and bare bums.
Each year, four contemporary artists
who, in the opinion of an illustrious art world jury,
have made an outstanding contribution to art
in the last 12 months are chosen to compete for the prize of £25,000.
With me in the studio to discuss nominations
and all things Turner
are photographer David Bailey,
artist Polly Morgan
and critic and broadcaster Waldemar Januszczak.
-Welcome to you all.
-Thank you, hello.
The Turner Prize has been going since 1984
and it's in the fifth year that it's been exhibited outside of London.
This year, it's in Hull, 2017 City of Culture.
I met up with Hull-born Maureen Lipman at the Ferens Art Gallery
to find out what it means to the city
to host this famously divisive award.
What I really love is the difference in styles.
This is a year when Hull is welcoming everybody to the city.
Do you think this is an accessible exhibition?
I do think it's accessible.
I think it's not as shocking as we expect from the Turner Prize.
I don't think there's anything here that you would stand here
and say, as they would in Hull, "My dog could do that!"
Andrea, she does these woodcuts.
The process is absolutely breathtaking.
I would like to take this whole room home with me.
-Beautiful, that, and it's just...
-His use of colour is amazing.
I mean, this, you could sit and meditate forever,
-couldn't you, some of these images?
-Do you have a favourite?
Oh, in here? Yes, this is my baby.
I could look at that for ever.
And I've got a feeling that
-just puts his hand in paint.
What do you feel about having an exhibition here,
bringing the Turner to Hull?
To have the Turner Prize here,
as well as in the Year of Culture, it's a big thing for Hull.
This city has responded very positively
to being singled out for its good qualities.
If we look at the Ferens alone,
people of Hull have been seduced slightly by the art, by culture.
I think, in their own inimitable way,
they have decided this is good for Hull.
And I hope to God it is!
So, Waldemar, what does it mean
to have the Turner Prize outside London?
Do you think it important?
Well, it's a good thing. The Turner Prize is always impactful.
It has done its bit in London, hasn't it?
It has played a part in changing the way British people
think about contemporary art, cos I think it has done that,
so perhaps sending it out there
to see how great contemporary art can be -
when it is a good Turner Prize, that is, of course.
Polly, do you like the idea of it travelling?
Yes, absolutely, it's a British art prize, isn't it?
So, I think to expect everyone to come down to London to see it
is a bit much, it's nice to take it to them.
David, do you think that artists should be judged by competition?
Do you think it's a good way to judge art?
I don't understand, because who chooses the judges?
It's so... It's so abstract, in a way, so who do you get to...
Who chooses the people that are going to choose?
I couldn't choose,
because I wouldn't put myself in that position,
because I wouldn't say someone is good
or someone is bad, because it's not my job.
Maybe it's his job.
I'm not sure if David cares much about the Turner Prize,
but do the public like it, do they enjoy the Turner prize?
Well, they turn up in large numbers, don't they?
I was at Channel 4 when Channel 4
put it on television for the first time,
and I remember the first show had 50,000 people coming to see it.
By the time you got to the second, there was 150,000.
I mean, for reasons that are often to do with notoriety,
the fact that it's on page one of the Sun or whatever it is,
those reasons got people through the door,
and if that hadn't happened back in the 1990s,
we wouldn't have had a Tate Modern today, so it's had an impact,
it's definitely brought a lot of people to contemporary art.
Now, this year, the rules have changed
and the upper age limit restriction has been lifted
so that artists of any age can now be in contention with each other.
Now, in the first of our short films about this year's nominees,
we meet Lubaina Himid and Hurvin Anderson,
the two artists whose place on the shortlist
was guaranteed because of this.
Whilst 63-year-old Himid makes use of
a wide array of media and material to explore her themes,
52-year-old Anderson is that rare thing on the Turner shortlist -
a true figurative painter.
Will either go on to take the prize this week?
My name is Lubaina Himid, I am a painter.
I trained as a theatre designer
and I have a sense of the drama of things.
Really, at the heart of my practice
is the desire for a relationship with audience.
I'm incredibly aware of the Turner Prize, I always have been,
but once I passed the age of 50, I certainly never thought about
being in contention for it, so it was completely shocking.
The Fashionable Marriage
is a reworking of Hogarth's Marriage A-La-Mode.
Instead of being the countess and her lover,
we have Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
I'm really interested in caricature, in cartoonists,
in that ability to mock everybody.
What I've learned from looking at the work of Gillray,
Hogarth, Cruickshank, was that, although the work is cruel
and everybody kind of gets rubbished,
you get a history of people,
you get a history of the presence of black people
that you wouldn't necessarily have got
in the kind of more dainty paintings of the day.
The painting that I'm working on at the moment is part of a series,
And in the whole series, I'm trying to capture
the history of a story, of a reality,
about a ship that sailed from the West Coast of Africa to Guadeloupe
and, on the way,
all the enslaved people that were captured on board went blind.
And I want to build up a kind of relationship between them
that talks about who they are, who they want to be,
what's missing, what might be taken away from them
or what has already been taken away from them.
I certainly am trying to get inside the experience of things.
It is about stretching your intellect,
but it's also about remembering what you didn't know you knew.
My name is Hurvin Anderson and I'm a painter.
This is the drawing, the basis of some of the new paintings -
Scrumping and Grafting.
When I was younger, my brother, during the summer holidays,
he would go for the day and he would come back
and he'd have all these apples and pears and, you know,
you'd ask you where had he been and, you know, "Just been scrumping."
The interesting thing was, I think, for me, then when I went to Jamaica
and I saw these kids just, you know, climbing trees.
I just had this kind of tiny insight into how his life was
when he was in Jamaica, so it was this kind of odd moment
where these two worlds, for me, kind of came together.
Essentially, there are two images,
two photographs which have come together.
There is something when I paint from photographs,
where you feel like you get the point.
Half the time, I feel like you are too busy measuring,
there's too much things to consider, whereas when you have a photograph,
half the job is done and you push things to one side.
You are interested in something already
and you just want to get on with it.
What I find when you're making, especially a painting like this,
in a way you are actually destroying things all the time,
you are creating and making something new.
I'm trying not to make it too personal,
although there is that kind of first moment
where it does come from maybe a personal moment,
but it's about that...
broader sentiment becomes more open and...
Yeah, when lines blur.
So, there we have a multimedia artist and a painter.
What was your immediate response to the work?
Hurvin Anderson's paintings, I liked.
My only criticism would be that I didn't feel
they were necessarily that new,
in that they reminded me a bit of Peter Doig
and a few other painters, but I...
They were very direct, they were easy, they had a nice palette.
I thought the barbershop ones worked particularly well.
I liked it more when he sort of goes into abstraction.
Lubaina's work, I...
I thought probably the longest about her work.
I didn't instantly love it,
just aesthetically, it's not the kind of work that I love,
but I thought the most successful work was the installation piece,
The Fashionable Marriage, and I just... I thought it was a shame
that the most successful work was made in 1986.
I kind of struggled with that a little.
Was that your feeling, Waldemar?
Do you think that it should have been
just the show for that particular year or...?
Well, there has been a change of rules, hasn't there?
They are now allowed... They've scrapped the age limit,
so you don't have to be under 50 any more,
you can be any age, and that has an impact, doesn't it?
Because it means that... In this instance, you are sort of
rewarding people for their whole career, aren't you, really,
rather than what they've done this year?
So there's old pictures and both Hurvin Anderson and Lubaina Himid
have got things from way back in their show,
so it's a sort of mini retrospective,
a kind of cultural MBE, you know.
And, quite honestly, I think if you want to reward artists
for being around a long time, give them an MBE,
but don't necessarily give them the Turner Prize,
which has always been there and successful
because it's about new things that are happening now.
You know, that is what has made it so pertinent.
So I have issues with that, but having said that,
I don't think that it's a particular problem this year because, actually,
I think these are the two strongest artists in the show
and Lubaina Himid's thing is really interesting
all the way through and I actually like the smaller pieces.
I love the Guardian front pages and the sports pages, where she has this
rather sort of comic interplay
between photographs of black sportsmen
and she does a kind of predella to it
where she makes little jokes about them, which she has painted on.
And they are sort of funny.
They are meant to be all about black identity, but are also very cheeky.
I thought it was really good and I think Anderson's paintings
are actually rather beautiful, but they are also understated,
they are not noisy.
The storyline of the barbershop is brilliant, isn't it?
It's such a big cultural issue at the moment.
There was that actress recently who appeared on Grazia,
-complaining about her hair having been chopped off.
And this is all about black people and hair, so that...
that juxtaposition of the hair art
and these sort of blooming, brilliant, tropical forests
seems, to me, to be saying something about...
about freedom and having stuff chopped off
and something like that, but I think there is a problem ahead.
You know, if you are going to give anybody
a chance to appear in the Turner Prize,
you are going to create a situation where Buggins' turn will turn up,
as it used to be at the beginning when there wasn't an age limit.
Anybody who has been around long enough can be in it.
But it doesn't have to be like that, I don't think.
I do think there are artists who are working...
I mean, I can think of an artist right now who started...
He went to college in his 50s and he is now making work
and he just had his first exhibition in his 60s.
So, I think there is new work being made by people in their over-50s,
but I don't see why we have to...
I mean, the Turner Prize states that it wants to provoke debate
about what is new in contemporary art
and then they can't show something from 1986 and say that,
I think they would just have to update that maxim.
And, in fact, the rule book says
for outstanding exhibitions or projects of the past year.
-In the last year.
-Yes. I mean, it's...
It's just potentially, you know, a dodgy situation.
David, what's your opinion, briefly?
It used to be a competition for brazen young artists.
Now they've taken the age limit away.
Yeah, I always had problems with that,
I wondered why it was so ageist.
But I think it's great, especially for women that get married
and have children and have to look after their children,
and then, when they are in their maybe late 40s,
they want to start painting or doing things again,
so I think it's very good for women in this place.
I've got a daughter who is a very good painter,
much better than I can paint, but she's lumbered with three kids.
Or she loves three kids! So I think in that way it is good.
As to the artists, I don't know,
they are all right, but they are all right.
I mean, they are really all right,
but I think I expect a bit more from the Turner Prize, maybe.
And now for our second pair of shortlisted artists,
Rosalind Nashashibi and Andrea Buttner,
whose works include video art, painting, printmaking and fabrics.
While Buttner's prize show features pieces from across her practice,
Nashashibi has chosen simply to screen two films
for her exhibition in Hull.
My name is Andrea Buttner.
I am an artist.
I'm showing my work in two rooms.
I was nominated for two exhibitions
that are quite different from each other.
One is an exhibition that I borrowed from a peace group
in East Berlin that was founded in the 1980s.
And then they will see etchings
made from traces of Google searches on the iPhones.
I was thinking of these traces on the touch-screen
as a sad kind of painting that we all do all time.
It's a kind of invisible painting practice.
I think the subject of the hand is very important in these works.
I show them in relation to other works where hands are depicted.
There is a series of nine woodcuts
showing varied beggars with stretched-out hands.
There are posters showing material that is sourced
at the photography collection of the Warburg Institute,
I've been working on the subject of poverty for many years,
like I think it came from my interest in shame.
Thinking about shame is so interesting within art,
because it teaches us about conventions that we blindly accept.
My name is Rosalind Nashashibi and I am an artist, making films.
The two films that I'm showing are the ones which I was nominated for.
With the film Vivian's Garden,
it is about Vivian Suter and Elisabeth Wild,
these two artists, mother and daughter,
and their situation in Panajachel,
which is a small town in Guatemala.
Vivian is in her 60s and her mother is in her 90s.
Their home is really a refuge,
it's really a very healing place to be, actually, in their garden.
But on the other hand, it's a very dangerous place.
There is a lot of crime, there's lawlessness
and they are in a vulnerable position,
so it's a complex situation, it's not just a simple...
..a morally simple situation, let's say.
Electrical Gaza is a film I made in Gaza.
I was asked by the Imperial War Museum, initially, in 2010,
to make a piece of work about Gaza.
It's so difficult to cross that border and then, once you're in,
you are aware that you are in this completely sealed area
on the one hand, because it's under siege,
but on the other hand, completely porous,
because the Israelis were flying over at all times,
they were controlling the borders
and they could enter, really, at whim.
So I began to see that siege of Gaza,
or to find a sort of metaphor, I guess,
in the idea of a place being under enchantment.
And, when I say that, I don't mean that in any fairy-tale aspect.
What I mean is really under a spell.
I went from animation to live footage in order to say,
you think that this is a fantasy situation,
but actually, it is like that, so it's not quite what it seems.
What I tried to do was really to show to the viewer of the film
what it felt like inside me to be there.
Polly, what did you make of the films?
Vivian's Garden really grew on me, actually.
I started to find it quite moving.
Electrical Gaza, I...
I think I just expected a little bit more from it, I was sort of...
I understand she was interrupted in the middle of filming it,
so she had to cut it short, and I wanted to see
the film she would have made if she hadn't been interrupted,
because I think, knowing that she was half-Palestinian,
I was expecting little bit more intimacy, maybe, with the subject.
I couldn't help thinking that the footage that she'd got,
there were some beautiful shots, but it was quite ordinary, some of it.
I could sort of imagine many people with a camera out there
getting those shots.
I thought they were really, really dreary.
And also totally irrelevant to the Turner Prize situation.
I mean, you've got one film set in Guatemala,
another in the Gaza Strip.
The Guatemala film, it was like a sort of holiday film.
You know, I don't understand what was being said about it
that is in any way sort of pertinent, really,
and the poetry was lost on me.
I think it was a film about the encroachment of a natural situation,
so, you know, the Guatemalan jungle,
as it were, that they are trying to tame in their garden
is coming in on these two ladies
who are living in this sort of vulnerable house
in the middle of the garden, so I sort of get that,
but I just found it deeply annoying and badly made.
You know, there are no great shots in it, the editing was clunky,
the music was clunky, the point of it was clunky,
the whole thing was clunky.
See, I got engrossed in the music
and maybe that was a distraction, perhaps, I'm not sure.
Maybe it was from boredom.
There was one scene, there was one episode in the middle
where she was going to sleep
and someone working in the garden
was putting these leaves over the top,
which I thought was quite pretty,
and some music came in then and there were some dogs playing,
a puppy playing with its mother,
and I felt like there was something quite poetic
about life and death going on there.
David, did you feel like you were watching a crafted documentary
-or did you feel it was art?
-No, not very crafted, no.
I used to make documentaries, not that that means anything.
But it's like a bad news report to me.
Now, I am interested to know what you think of Andrea Buttner.
The borrowing of the Simone Weil piece, you know,
that's just a typical bit of what conceptual art gets up to.
"It's conceptual art, innit?"
So you go and borrow an entire exhibition and transport it.
The best thing about her display was the photography
in that particular scene,
because you had Andre Kertesz, you had Ansel Adams.
Finally, you had some great art,
just nothing to do with Andrea Buttner.
So, does it matter that it is not her work?
-I don't think it does.
-To me, it doesn't matter particularly,
because, you know, I love Duchamp's readymades,
they are brilliant. But they are brilliant because they bring
something to the party - a strangeness.
He saw something in the real world, took it up, put it on a pedestal
and suddenly we can see that it's got
some weird, sculptural power to it.
I beat his wife once at chess,
which was quite an achievement!
What I didn't like about it was that it had that sort of air of
a library foyer about it or some kind of trades show,
you know, temporary dullness that didn't really take me anywhere.
She talked about poverty by doing those drawings
and it doesn't make you want to go out and help people,
or it doesn't help the people.
I mean, that's just someone expressing themselves.
Is it more political than, say, last year, for example?
Yeah, I think it was a sort of anti-Brexit show
and it was definitely a response to last year.
I loved last year's one,
there was a lot more tangible work in there for me.
I just don't think it's going to be
a very memorable Turner prize, really.
There were some nice works in there,
but it was quite sort of safe and quite art-worldy.
You've fallen in and out of love with the Turner Prize.
Are you in love this year,
or are you turning your back and going for a drink?
I think it's a very dreary show, all in all.
It doesn't have much wow factor to it.
There is just no sense that this is some kind of real reflection
of what has happened in Britain this year, or very little sense of that.
The only person that stands out and is properly here
and is by far the most interesting artist in the show is Lubaina Himid,
who has had powerful exhibitions in Britain this year,
who is an exceptional artist and who should win easily.
If she doesn't, it tells you everything you need to know
about how wrong contemporary art can be in Britain.
The public's favourite seems to be Anderson's work,
the critics' favourite seems to be Lubaina's work.
It's not a vintage year for you by any measure, David,
but who would you give the prize to next week?
Ask the audience, because they are going to be the judges in the end.
Because, in the end, art needs an audience
and if it hasn't got an audience, there's nobody...
I mean, it doesn't matter what he says or what she says or what I say,
it's the audience that...
They are part of you doing your work.
-I agree. I think she will win.
I would give it to Hurvin Anderson.
I'll put my 10p on Lubaina too, I think.
The winner of the Turner Prize will be announced at a ceremony
on 5th December, broadcast live on the BBC News Channel
and BBC World News at 9.30pm
and then shown on BBC Four later that evening.
And you can see the exhibition at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull
until 7th January next year. Thank you to my guests -
David Bailey, Polly Morgan and Waldemar Januszczak.
Saving our live studio music until last,
let me introduce you to artist and art provocateur Martin Creed,
who was a Turner Prize winner at Tate Britain in 2001,
with Work No. 227, The Lights Going On And Off.
So, Martin, what was it like for you to win that prize?
Er, I don't know.
Are you still overwhelmed by it?
Aye. Well, I don't know,
because I think winning prizes can give you a false idea about life,
because I think life is more about losing
than it is about winning because, you know, every moment is lost.
So, life is like a process of losing things
and I feel like it's hard, it's hard to get used to that,
so if you win something, it can give you a kind of false idea
about kind of being...
about things being OK.
That's it for this evening's Front Row Turner Prize special.
If you want information and details
about anything we've been talking about,
do head to our website and, of course,
there's arts news and reviews every night
on Radio 4's Front Row at 7.15.
We'll be back next year with a new series of Front Row.
I leave you with Martin Creed and You're The One For Me.
# I'm the one for you
# I'm your two
# You're the one for me
# You're my three
# We make one, two, three, four, five
# You make me laugh
# You make me cry
# You make me try
# You make me sigh
# You make me lie
# You make me buy
# You're my sign
# And you're my time
# You're my rhyme
# You're my nine
# One, two
# Three, four, five, six
# Seven, eight
# You make me talk
# You make me think
# You make me smoke
# You make me drink
# You're like depth
# You're like height
# You're like light
# You're like sight
# You help me see
# You make me free
# You let me be
# You make me me
# I'm the one for you
# I'm your two
# You're the one for me
# You're my three
# I love the way you do things
# And I love the way you don't. #