An artist who orchestrates "live encounters" is up against a humorous cartoonist who once directed a video for Blur in this year's Turner Prize.
Also shortlisted for the award are a French-born film-maker and a painter who has become the first black woman to be in the running for the award.
The prize, being presented at a ceremony outside England for the first time this year, in Londonderry in December, is worth £25,000 to the winner.
Tino Sehgal, who last year had Tate Modern's Turbine Hall commission and filled the space with storytellers, who began conversations with visitors, is the first person to specialise mainly in "encounter" installations to be up for the award.
He competes with David Shrigley, who was the subject of a major show at the Hayward Gallery, and is known for his light-hearted drawings, photographs and writings. His words have been interpreted in recordings by David Byrne and Franz Ferdinand and he directed the promo for Blur's Good Song.
Also up is Laure Prouvost, whose recent films have included the creation of a montage of images of the natural world in which she wanted to interpret the taste of the sun.
The list is completed by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, who paints imagined figures and is the first black woman to figure in the Turner line-up. The nominees, who each take away at least £5,000, were announced at Tate Britain today and were chosen by a jury headed by Penelope Curtis, the director of Tate Britain. The jury also includeed Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward.
The Turner Prize, won last year by Elizabeth Price, was established in 1984 and is awarded to a British or British-based artist under fifty for outstanding work in the previous year.
The winner will be announced on December 2.
Jury chairman Penelope Curtis today defended the decision to include Shrigley on the list for his Hayward show, despite the director of that gallery being on the award jury.
She said any potential difficulties were made clear at the outset of the judging process, and Shrigley's inclusion was something decided by the whole jury.
"We asked the jurors to clear a conflict of interest at the beginning," Curtis said, and pointed out Rugoff - who did not curate Shrigley's show - was not the only member of the panel who had championed his work.
"The decision was very much among the jury as a whole," she added.