Turner Prize shortlist: Nominees for contemporary art prize includes ‘tender’ tribute to Windrush generation

Darling’s work
Darling’s work

The shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize has been announced.

On Thursday (27 April), the four nominees were named for the contemporary art prize, which is awarded to a British artist for an “outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work”.

Among them is artist Jesse Darling, who bent a full-sized roller coaster into the skeletal form of a woolly mammoth.

Darling’s exhibitions No Medals, No Ribbons at Modern Art Oxford and Enclosures at Camden Art Centre were praised for using a series of consumer goods, construction materials, fictional characters and mythical symbols to evoke “the vulnerability of the human body”.

The 41-year-old, who lives in Berlin, also used plastic bags and mobility aids bent into different shapes and scattered on the floor to highlight the “precariousness of power structures” and express the “messy reality of life”.

His work was praised for “exposing the world’s underlying fragility and refusing to make oneself appear legible and functioning to others”.

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize jury, told the Press Association: “[Jessie] is really pushing the boundaries of that kind of sculptural practice that involves materials and materials becoming images, the use of space which is much more conceptual… but nevertheless produces this almost unexpected sense of subordinate humanity, social systems, and particularly as embodied in gallery structures.”

This year’s shortlist also includes Stockholm-born Ghislaine Leung, 42, who is nominated for her exhibition Fountains at Simian, Copenhagen. The work involved water pouring into the exhibition space through an opening in the ceiling.

Leung’s work takes the form of scores which are sets of instructions that test the boundaries of the gallery space. A baby monitor, child safety gates, inflatable structures and toys were also used as part of the exhibition to challenge the way art is produced and circulated.

Meanwhile Rory Pilgrim has been nominated for their commission titled RAFTS at Serpentine and Barking Town Hall, and a live performance of the work at Cadogan Hall in London.

The 35-year-old collaborated with local communities in the borough of Barking and Dagenham to reflect on times of change and struggle during the pandemic, with the work praised as a “standout example of social practice”.

The shortlist is completed by Barbara Walker, 58, for her presentation titled Burden Of Proof at Sharjah Biennial 15.

The work brings attention to the families affected by the Windrush Scandal and features large-scale charcoal portraits drawn directly on to the gallery wall, along with eight framed works on paper of people impacted by the scandal layered over hand-drawn reproductions of identity papers, which are used as evidence of their right to remain in the UK.

Birmingham-born Walker was praised for her ability to use portraits of monumental scale to tell stories of a similarly monumental nature, while “maintaining a profound tenderness and intimacy across the full scope of her work”.

The winner of the contemporary art prize, which is named after painter JMW Turner, will be awarded £25,000 at the award ceremony in December. All shortlisted artists will receive £10,000.

An exhibition of the shortlisted artists’ work will be held from 28 September at Towner Eastbourne until 14 April 2024 as the “centrepiece of the gallery’s centenary programme”.

It forms part of Towner 100, the gallery’s year-long centenary celebration of arts and culture across Eastbourne.

Additional reporting by Press Association.