Profile: the Turner Prize 2015 nominees
As the Turner Prize exhibition prepares to arrive in Glasgow for the first time, we look at what this year's shortlist might have in store
There’s no slight irony in the fact that this year’s Turner Prize is coming to Glasgow for the very first time with none of the four artists on display hailing from the city. That's an absence that bucks recent trends: three of last year's nominees were Glasgow School of Art graduates, including winner Duncan Campbell. But the fact that it’s coming to Glasgow at all remains a validation of the city’s standing in the contemporary UK art scene. Presenting new work from each artist in Tramway before the winner’s presentation in December, the prize will eventually be awarded to one of three competing female artists or an 18-strong design collective.
The first ever design studio to be nominated for the Turner Prize, Assemble is a London-based collective which blurs the lines between art and architecture. Its practise seeks ‘to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realisation of the work’. One of these projects focuses on the Granby Four Streets in Toxteth, Liverpool. A series of former workers’ cottages dating back to the start of the 20th century, they were seen as local symbols of urban deprivation after their abandonment following 1981’s Toxteth Riots.
Working with the local community, Assemble have transformed these buildings into community-owned houses and the surrounding area into public space. It’s a similar approach to the one they’ve used in playfully renovating public spaces around London, and in their Baltic Street Adventure Playground project in Dalmarnock, Glasgow, completed as a permanent artistic commission for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
A lecturer in fine art at Goldsmiths College in London, Camplin creates complex multi-media works that explore a variety of themes around the subject of ‘the invented life’, which translates as the myths which we all select for ourselves and draw inspiration from in the name of developing our personality and sense of self, both public and private. In an age where the internet allows exposure to myths and the curation of our own selves, it’s an extremely relevant conversation.
Her broad-ranging practise has included creating drawings, film, music, performance and text, while she formerly worked in a manner akin to a theatre producer, dancing and creating live work for experimental club nights in Soho. Her nominated work, The Military Industrial Complex, is an archive-room installation comprised of various books, films and so on, which looks at what we consider to be ‘consensus reality’ and how we collectively perceive that as being a threat.
Janice Kerbel’s nominated work DOUG was commissioned in Glasgow, by The Common Guild gallery, and shown in May of this year. Like Bonnie Camplin, the Toronto-raised Kerbel lectures in fine art at Goldsmiths, and is notable for the breadth and variety of media she uses. Her works tend to construct narratives around imagined places using existing media as a storytelling form; for example, her 1999 Bank Job was a detailed (imagined) manual describing how a bank may be robbed; 2006’s Deadstar planned and created a Wyoming ghost town, complete with ghost stories; and 2011’s Kill the Workers! was a ‘play’ told entirely using stage lights.
Originally blogged in 2012 as part of an online project reacting to the work of Charles Dickens dubbed Our Mutual Friend, DOUG was commissioned by the Common Guild as a one-off performance held in the Mitchell Library. It featured nine songs for six unaccompanied voices, each telling of another catastrophic event in the life of the title character.
Born in Germany and now based in London, Nicole Wermers creates work which operates as a form of response and comment upon the role of design in society. She creates seductive, beautifully textured forms and then, for example, binds them together with heavy chains, roping them off from use, or allows them to be used as an ashtray. She also uses fashion magazines to create all-new decorative forms.
Her Turner nomination is for the show Infrastruktur, held at London's Herald St gallery, which looks at ‘the structures of ritualised social relations in general and at the material objects through which these relations are communicated in particular’. It contains two elements: ‘Untitled Chairs’, a series of chairs upholstered with a woman’s fur coat draped over the back, and a series of clay reliefs in the form of torn-off scraps of paper.
Turner Prize 2015 Exhibition, Tramway, Glasgow, Thu 1 Oct–Sun 17 Jan. The winner will be announced on Mon 7 Dec.