Turner Prize 2013: Critics and commentators on Shrigley, Prouvost, Yiadom-Boakye and Sehgal

By Culture24 Reporter | 26 April 2013

If the judges in this year's Turner Prize, as The Independent has it, will need to make a sincere effort to stop themselves giggling at a foursome often known for frivolousness, then the reactions, as usual, are also reliably entertaining.

A photo of a male artist standing in a street surrounded by people
Tino Sehgal and participants of These Associations, which was part of the 2012 Unilever Series at Tate© Courtesy Johnny Green
A deluge of dog puns, starting with a respondent to the Mirror who accused the award of “going to the dogs” with a “barking mad” selection, had become wearisome by the time The Sun’s canine Art Critic, Henri Muttisse, variously referred to dog’s dinners, bones and terrierists in their summary of the shortlist.

Their wordplay was, of course, sparked by the dog brandishing a sign, I’m Dead, created by David Shrigley, whose coverage reflects his perhaps unwanted status as the best-known of the nominees.

“He had been wrongly overlooked for a long time because his work suggested itself as being just funny and therefore marginal,” said Tate Britain’s Penelope Curtis, the chair of the jury. “Just because it’s funny, doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

“There are plenty of cartoonists out there who are both funny and technically skilled, yet the Turner Prize chooses someone who can barely draw,” wrote a less enamoured observer.

“Terrible. Someone call Brian Sewell,” offered another, but that critic’s views remain unclear.

Charlotte Higgins’ opinion made for an equally welcome read, suggesting that the German representative, Tino Sehgal, is "by far the biggest name on the shortlist".

Elsewhere within the same oracular, Adrian Searle called Laure Prouvost "this year's Spartacus Chetwynd", noting the “bottoms galore” infiltrating her works. But the bottom line, he agreed, was that Sehgal should win.

The BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz, accepted Sehgal as the favourite, but added that his heart belonged to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye for her “simple, enigmatic” and “surprisingly affecting” portraits.

He also suggested that Shrigley or Prouvost might respond best to the new space in Derry-Londonderry.

Yiadom-Boakye is a former student of the Royal Academy. Writing on the Academy website, Sam Phillips said the institution would be "rooting for one of its own" when the painter’s fictitious figures come under the scrutiny of the judges again.

Ben Luke, of the London Evening Standard, might have been naturally biased when he called it "a pity" that this year’s exhibition won’t be held in his city.

He called the shortlist “hugely varied”, credited Shrigley with making him laugh “more than any artist I can think of”, praised Prouvost’s videos as “assaults on the senses” and hailed the “absorbing” and “enigmatic” Yiadom-Boakye. “My head and my heart say Sehgal should win,” he concluded.

The paper’s Chief Arts Correspondent, Louise Jury, said Sehgal's blend of art, dance and music would create a “live encounter” for visitors, with Declan Long – one of the judges – calling the artist’s work a “very exciting moment”.

Shrigley’s collaborations saw leading musicians namechecked: brandishing some of the best cartoons he’s made for their pages, The New Statesmen also mentioned his commissions for Blur, Hot Chip and Deerhoof.

Contact Music, who reported Shrigley as the 2/1 favourite, recalled his pieces for Franz Ferdinand and David Byrne while resurrecting the tranquil glory of his animation for Damon Albarn and friends’ 2003 single, Good Song.

The Leicester Mercury spoke to Shrigley’s 72-year-old father, Joseph. “His friends have been nominated before and he was wondering if he ever would be, too,” he revealed.

“He's over the moon. We haven't really got any other notable artists in the family  – he seems to be the only one."

The Telegraph reported that the public would question whether the exhibition was really one of art.

“The Turner Prize has long been about what a small, established London clique choose to define as art and the money they stand to make from it – this is a private party and the public are not invited,” replied one reader.

The public had clearly invited themselves to the Guardian’s lead story on the prize where, at the time of typing, there are a total of 118 comments. Probably best to make up your own mind.

  • The Turner Prize 2013 exhibition will be at Ebrington Square from October 23 2013 - January 5 2014. The winner will be announced on December 2. Follow @Tate on Twitter and use the hashtag #TurnerPrize.

More pictures:

An image of a painting of a man resting on grassland on a cliff above a sea
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Midnight, Cadiz (2013)© Courtesy Corvi-Mora, London / Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Marcus Leith, London
An image of a painting of collages and mounds
Laure Prouvost, Max Mara Prize for Women, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013). Installation view© Laure Prouvost, courtesy MOTInternational, London
A photo of a black ink drawing of a headless figure playing a drumset
David Shrigley, Headless Drummer (2012)© David Shrigley, Courtesy the artist / Stephen Friedman Gallery
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