Veronica Ryan wins Turner Prize 2022 for her critically acclaimed Freelands Award solo exhibition ‘Along a Spectrum’ at Spike Island in Bristol in 2021, and for her public sculpture commission which was unveiled in Hackney as the nation’s first permanent public sculpture to celebrate the Windrush generation. It was announced last night at a ceremony at St George’s Hall, Liverpool. The £25,000 prize was presented by musician Holly Johnson during a live broadcast on the BBC. A further £10,000 is awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists.
The jury congratulated all four nominated artists for their strong and varied presentations which have offered visitors a rich sensory experience. All have pushed the boundaries of material exploration through unravelling the complexities of body, nature and identity. They awarded the prize to Veronica Ryan for the personal and poetic way she extends the language of sculpture. Her recent practice combines found and usually forgotten objects and crafted materials, underpinned by interconnecting themes such as displacement, healing and loss. They praised the noticeable shift in her use of space, colour and scale both in gallery and civic spaces.
One of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. The shortlisted artists for 2022 were: Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Sin Wai Kin.
The members of the Turner Prize 2022 jury are Irene Aristizábal, Head of Curatorial and Public Practice, BALTIC; Christine Eyene, Lecturer in Contemporary Art, Liverpool John Moores University; Robert Leckie, Director, Spike Island; and Anthony Spira, Director, MK Gallery. This year’s jury was co-chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain; and Helen Legg, Director of Tate Liverpool.
The Turner Prize exhibition will continue at Tate Liverpool until 19th March 2023, while Ryan’s inaugural solo exhibition at Alison Jacques will remain on until 21st December 2022.
This year Turner Prize is held at Tate Liverpool to mark 15 years since the prize was first held in the city. Tate Liverpool was the first gallery outside London to host the prize in 2007 when it helped launch the city’s year as European Capital of Culture. Entry to the exhibition is free.
The Turner Prize 2022 is supported by BNP Paribas with additional support from Taylor Wessing, Avanti West Coast, Mylands, Sennheiser, The John Browne Charitable Trust, The Uggla Family Foundation and Roisin and James Timpson OBE.
About the artist
Veronica Ryan was born in Plymouth, Montserrat in 1956. Ryan studied at The School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK in 1983; The Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, UK in 1980; Bath Academy of Art, Corsham Court, UK in 1978; and St. Albans College of Art and Design, UK in 1975. In 2021 Ryan received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Along a Spectrum, Spike Island, Bristol (2021); The Weather Inside, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, USA (2019); Veronica Ryan: Salvage, The Art House, Wakefield, Yorkshire (2017); The Hepworth Museum, Wakefield, Yorkshire (2017); The Weather Inside, The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA (2011); Archaeology of the Black Sun: Musings After Kristeva, Salena Gallery, Long Island University, New York, USA (2005); Quoit Montserrat, Tate St Ives, Cornwall (2000); Compartments/Apartments, Angel Row, Nottingham, and Camden Arts Centre, London (1995). In 2021, Ryan was commissioned by Hackney Council to create the first permanent artwork to honour the Windrush generation in the UK.
Group exhibitions include: Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Biennial 2022, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2022); Portable Sculpture, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK (2021), No Particular Place to Go?, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2019); The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and South London Gallery (2017); Infinite Islands, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA (2007).
Ryan’s practice addresses issues of history, belonging, and human psychology, using a wide range of materials, including bronze, plaster, marble, textile, and found objects. Rejecting a straightforward narrative, Ryan uncovers psychological associations using containers, compartments and negative and positive space as metaphors for displacement, fragmentation and alienation, while also referencing the natural world. Ryan’s sculptures adopt organic shapes, yet resist a definitive interpretation of these forms, enabling multiple narratives to emerge. Themes such as the historical networks of intergenerational and commercial exchange, alongside the cycles of death and rebirth, environmental breakdown, and collective trauma, all inhabit her unique sculptural practice.
Made during an extended residency at Spike Island in Bristol, the works in Along a Spectrum make enquiries into perception and spectrums of pathologies, personal narratives, history, as well as the wider psychological implications of the Covid pandemic. Works produced for the exhibition included forms cast in clay and bronze; sewn, tea-stained and dyed fabrics; and bright neon crocheted fishing line pouches filled with a variety of seeds, fruit stones and skins.
Ryan is 66 and lives between New York and Bristol.