Who should win the Tuner Prize 2023? Well, below I give you the definitive answer* just to say it is based on what I saw at Towner and not on the artist’s body of work – which is what counts towards the Turner Prize- more info below.
I wanted to say Rory Pilgrim should win – because of the reaction of a lot of the art press I was with in the press view one of them went red with rage talking about the work – he was so angry!
Everyone talked about the bad poetry but in the words of John Lennon one of the best poets from Britain ever –
Love, love me do
You know I love you
I’ll always be true
Love me do
Whoa, love me do
What’s not to like about connecting with a tree that has had all its centre ripped out but still lives – it doesn’t just live it thrives it grows it blossoms – what’s not to like/love about that?
What’s not to love about a human being who finds solace in that tree? That finds hope?
Naive, parochial, soppy, – GREAT what a relief to see something different with different values with a different viewpoint something deeply unfashionable – JOY
But who I really think should win is someone achingly fashionable but totally wonderful in a very cool way – I know my contradictions annoy me more than you – Jesse Darling should win.
His artwork deals head-on with the scariest most pressing issue of the day the annihilation potentially of the entire human race and the realisation that we are in that process NOW its not abstract it’s real if we don’t change there will be no we anymore.
It’s about everything, it’s about now about seeing feeling understanding
We are in it now we are in a revolution – the Industrial Revolution was 100 years if you were in it you wouldn’t of known
But this revolution this revolution this process could lead to the end of humanity
The industrial global production distribution processing consuming world we have created is making the world fall apart and killing and destroying everything and if we don’t stop ….
And Barbara – the work just made me sad – sad of the process they had to go through sad of the way people are treated – my mum came to the UK in 66 and then because of Brexit she had to apply to stay and to see the fear in her eyes to feel her fear a woman of 78 – my mum – but it just left me completely flat a- and I know it’s not just History but it is so relevant to now with the whole sending refugees to Rwanda the language of our home secretary but I just felt sadness and I need to feel something more and I’m sure when all Barbara’s work is taking as a whole it does do more.
Weirdly I found Jessie’s work strangely uplifting maybe because to make things better you have to admit there’s a problem and admitting there’s a problem that’s the first step to recovery/survival?
Also, I hate the word RAFTS – the way it sounds
Turner Prize 2023, 28th September 2023 to 14th April 2024 Towner Eastbourne, Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne
Towner Eastbourne in East Sussex is presenting an exhibition of work by the four artists nominated for the Turner Prize 2023: Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim and Barbara Walker.
One of the world’s best-known prizes for the visual arts, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary art. The winner will be announced on 5th December 2023 at an award ceremony in Eastbourne’s Winter Garden.
Jesse Darling works in sculpture, installation, video, drawing, sound, text and performance, using a ‘materialist poetics’ to explore and reimagine the everyday technologies that represent how we live. Darling has often combined industrial materials such as sheet metal and welded steel with everyday objects to explore ideas of the domestic and the institutional, home and state, stability and instability, function and dysfunction, growth and collapse.
Darling was nominated for his solo exhibitions No Medals, No Ribbons at Modern Art Oxford and Enclosures at Camden Art Centre. Taking cues from Towner’s coastal location, Dar- ling brings together new and recent works in an installation that explores borders, bodies, nationhood and exclusion. The sculptural works Corpus (Half-staff) and Inter Alia I (both 2022) form a fragmented colonnade in the gallery. Here, concrete and polystyrene pillars are topped with barbed wire, venetian blinds and net curtains. Pedestrian barriers and prickly anti-bird spikes also echo a hostile and controlling element of the built environment, with a jarring proximity to our domestic everyday.
Ghislaine Leung’s practice takes a critical look at the conditions of art production, its presentation and circulation. Leung has developed a process of art making that results in ‘score-based artworks’. The ‘scores’ are text-based instructions or descriptions that are realised by the gallery team in close conversation with the artist.
Leung was nominated for her solo exhibition Fountains at Simian, Copenhagen which consisted of five score-based works including Fountains (2022), an artwork created from a score that simply states ‘a fountain installed in the exhibition space to cancel sound’. At Towner, the exhibition also features a baby monitor installed in the art store, broadcasting live to the exhibition space, and a wall drawing representing the hours that Leung can dedicate to working in her studio. These examples speak to the realities of working in multiple roles as an artist and mother, and highlight Leung’s interest in the time, labour and sup- port structures required to make and maintain artworks. @maxwellgraham.biz/artists/ghislaine-leung/
Rory Pilgrim is a multidisciplinary artist working across song writing, composition, films, texts, drawings, paintings and live performances. Pilgrim aims to challenge the nature of how we come together, speak, listen and strive for social change through sharing and voicing personal experience.
Pilgrim was nominated for the commission RAFTS at Serpentine and Barking Town Hall, and a live performance of the work at Cadogan Hall, London. The RAFTS (2022) film presented at Towner is a seven-song oratorio narrated by eight residents of Barking and Dagenham from Green Shoes Arts, reflecting on what the symbol of a raft means to them through song, music and poetry. They are joined by singers Declan Rowe John, Robyn Haddon, Kayden Fearon and members of Barking and Dagenham Youth Dance. RAFTS was made during the Covid-19 pandemic and in this work Pilgrim positions the raft as a symbol of support keeping us afloat in challenging and precarious circumstances. Timed screenings of RAFTS and RAFTS: Live are presented alongside paintings, drawings and sculptures that expand this theme. @rainbowsofgorse
Barbara Walker works in a range of media and formats, from embossed works on paper to paintings on canvas and large-scale charcoal wall drawings. Growing up in Birmingham, Walker’s experiences have shaped a practice concerned with issues of class and power, gender, race, representation and belonging.
Walker was nominated for her presentation entitled Burden of Proof at Sharjah Biennial 15. In this body of work, Walker brings careful attention and visibility to individuals and families affected by the Windrush scandal. The exhibition at Towner features large-scale charcoal figures drawn directly onto the gallery wall and a series of works on paper. Monochromatic portraits of people impacted by the scandal are layered over hand-drawn re- productions of documents that evidence their right to remain in the UK. Walker invites the viewer to consider the true consequences of political decision-making, the complexities of diasporic identity and the struggle for legitimacy. @barbarawalkerstudio