The Real Turner Prize 2002 - The Stuckist Alternative Award

By David Prudames | 06 December 2002
Carole Lesley with Stripes, Paul Harvey.

Left: Carole Lesley with Stripes, Paul Harvey.

With the word conceptual erased from his artistic dictionary David Prudames crossed the Turner Prize picket to have a look at this original show.

The Real Turner Prize Show 2002 at the Stuckist International Centre until January 31 seeks to reclaim the famous artists name for the world of figurative painting.

Four artists, Ella Guru, Paul Harvey, Charles Williams and Mandy McCartin, from the many members of the Stuckist art movement have been selected as joint winners of this year's Real Turner Prize Show.

Each year the group protests outside the award ceremony, but their alternative exhibition is perhaps the best way to see why they are against the prize and what kind of art they would rather see winning it.

Home from the Abbatoir, Charles Williams.

Right: Home from the Abbatoir, Charles Williams.

Exhibition curator and co-founder of the Stuckists, Charles Thomson explained why this, the show's third, year is the most important yet.

"The first year we had a lot of artists and it was just to say there was another point of view. This year I am taking it much more seriously because I really didn't think the Turner Prize would continue to be as narrow minded as it has."

Unlike its more famous rival, there won't be a huge cheque or an award ceremony for Madonna to swear at, instead the honours have been shared between the featured artists.

Fanny, Ella Guru.

Left: Fanny, Ella Guru.

"Their work is strong, accomplished, contemporary, challenging, furthermore it communicates and it is accessible - and people like these," Charles Thomson explained.

Accessible communication is perhaps the best way to describe the work on show, engaging the viewer as it does on a more emotional than intellectual level.

Paul Harvey tackles the world of the celebrity, taking familiar faces, such as the aforementioned Madonna, and attempting to dispose of any myth of their being superhuman, while Charles Williams deploys a similar narrative technique to convey a sense of the wider picture surrounding the lives of his subjects.

Tube Girls, Mandy McCartin.

Right: Tube Girls, Mandy McCartin.

McCartin's snapshot images positively bustle with human activity, delving beneath the surface of city life's rougher side. Tube Girls is all attitude and Charity Shop's colourful confusion barks out aggression to the staccato rhythm of a busy street.

In contrast Ella Guru takes us into the mind of the subject. Her characters offer the viewer a detached disinterest, as shown in Fanny, or moments of intense intimacy as in Sexton Ming with Face Pack.

The Stuckists are certainly not the first to openly speak out against the Turner Prize, but unlike many of its critics they offer a viable alternative to it. This exhibition won't hit as many headlines as its counterpart, but the works on show try to convey the world in terms that a lot more people will understand.

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