Belfast Telegraph

Turner Prize: public verdict on hopefuls

By Garrett Hargan

The first wave of culture vultures to visit the Turner Prize installations at the former Ebrington Army barracks site in Londonderry have been giving their verdicts on the always controversial competition.

It's the first time the Turner Prize has been held outside England and is one of the biggest events in Derry's City of Culture year.

There are four final entries, with one encouraging viewers to draw their own sketch of a naked figure with a bucket, and another a blank gallery where you are asked to speak off the cuff on economics.

They line up against a film about an elderly man who tried to dig a tunnel from Cumbria to Africa, and a series of large-scale portraits of fictional figures.

Local man Seamus Coyle (43) said he thought the four different approaches worked.

The event consultant said: "It can be quite shocking at times.

"For the first time in a long while I think they've got the right mix of subjects.

"Lots of people have been talking about the empty room and it is a good idea – it's quite unusual, but it's part of Turner to be unusual.

"I walked through it at one stage and there was no one in there apart from the invigilator – just white walls on one hand and a member of staff.

"There is a person that talks to you as part of the installation.

"I don't think the man with the bucket is controversial at all.

"I came in myself and did a drawing; in fact I think one of my drawings is on the wall somewhere in there, it's not very good, mind you.

"I think the whole thing is a great buzz.

"People should definitely come over and see it, sure it's right on your doorstep."

Technician Shaun Coyle (28) and his student companion Darragh Doherty (22) also gave the exhibition the thumbs-up.

Mss Doherty said: "We drew in the first one. I liked the first one, and the third one with the portraits was really good.

"In the second one I felt really awkward, I think that was the point."

Mr Coyle said: "It was all interesting to get involved in, you didn't just sit and look at it, you got involved, particularly the first installation."

He agreed the talking gallery was disturbing.

"That was creepy at times but I think that was the point.

"At the same time, that's what art is supposed to do.

"Everyone should come and see this, especially when it's on our doorstep now. You don't have to go to Belfast, Dublin or even across the water to see it.

"Everybody needs to come and see it, that's my opinion."

Lynn McGrane (39), from Dundalk, enjoyed the whole experience.

"I think it's charming, funny, witty, intelligent and beautiful.

"I can't really pick a highlight.

"I love the narrative involved in Laura Prouvost's work and I particularly like Lynette's style of working.

"People should absolutely come out and see it, you can't miss it."

Derry artist Kevin Burns (25) agreed.

He said: "It was challenging and it's both charming and very entertaining and has a kind of underlying strand that is intellectually probing.

"I particularly enjoyed Laure Prouvost because it was the first time that I seen her work and it was a revelation, I really enjoyed it.

"The naked man with the bucket, well it's kind of one of those things."

Teacher Helen Bradley (31), from Newcastle, said: "I think one of the things that comes across in this exhibition is the humour and how much the visitor can participate, so I think that's great.

"Laure's videos were definitely a highlight for me, it was a surprise, I really enjoyed those.

"The controversy surrounding David Shrigley's work? I think it's just a personal preference isn't it, if you want to come see it, see it, if you don't then you don't have to.

"But people should definitely come along to see the exhibition to judge for themselves."

FACTFILE

The four artists shortlisted for the 2013 Turner Prize:

* David Shrigley with his installation of a naked humanoid figure which visitors are encouraged to sketch.

* Lynette Yiadom-Boakye for her exhibition of apparently traditional portraits that are in fact drawn from her own imagination.

* Laure Prouvost for her film about a man who tried to dig a tunnel to Africa.

* Tino Sehgal, whose entry encourages visitors to speak for two minutes on the market economy.

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