As the Turner Prize exhibition opens in Derry~Londonderry, Simon Grant, editor of Tate Etc, takes us round the show and five others to see in this year's City of Culture
This year’s Turner Prize show is housed in the recently renovated Ebrington, a former barracks in Derry~Londonderry - the first time the exhibition has been shown outside England. Once a potent symbol of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the barracks have been transformed into a beautiful exhibition space.
At the Turner Prize, the unexpected is…almost expected. The much loved David Shrigley shows a three-metre animatronic naked figure, Life Model, that is more cartoon than classical, (‘he’s really badly proportioned’ says Shrigley), and which sporadically pees into a metal bucket on the floor. Surrounding it are a group of painters easels, set up for gallery visitors to have a go at drawing. And many have done so already. The walls are covered in drawings, including a couple by the fellow Turner Prize nominee, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, as well as one or two by art critics (you can see The Guardian’s Adrian Searle having a go in the above slideshow).
Yiadom-Boakye’s own rich, fluidly painted series of paintings of people (she doesn’t call them portraits) are displayed in a darkly lit room. Characteristic of her work, there are no signs in the paintings to live a sense of which century these figures inhabit. Narrative is inferred, but the figures give nothing away. One could be someone from the 1980s, or is it the 18th-century? Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings subtly reflect her interest in and passion for Western Painting, but don’t feel loaded with references.
How much do you know about the market economy? This is the question you will be asked by one of eleven trained guides on the subject of economics and the value of cultural exchange on entering Tino Sehgal’s recreated piece, This is exchange. A promise of £2 is given if you can maintain the chat for long enough. As more people join the conversation, the parameters of the topics expand. Have all the banks become toxic? How do we change the financial landscape? Have I earned my £2?
Laure Prouvost’s two video installations, Wantee and Farfromwords, are an absorbing blend of fiction, fact and fantasy. Wantee, which previously featured within Tate Britain’s recent Kurt Schwitters exhibition, features painting, sculpture and staged environments as the physical backdrop to Prouvost’s emotionally charged filmic narrative, which revolves around a fictional grandfather and ‘friend’ of Schwitters. In Farfromwords, we hear Prouvost taking us on a journey through her grandmother’s dreams, done with sensuous and intense rapid sequence of images and actions. What is real and what is not? ‘The viewer decides what they want to believe’, says Prouvost.
Turner Prize 2013 until 5th January
Five other shows to see in Derry right now…
Willie Doherty: Unseen
Willie Doherty’s show Unseen features photographic and video work made in Derry and surrounding area since 1985. Through simple yet direct observations of the landscape, often interwoven in the case of the films (including Remains (2013), Buried (2009), Ghost Story (2007) and At the End of the Day, 1994) with narratives of events remembered, Doherty, a native of Derry, subtly explores the troubled history of the region with the sparest of means.
City Factory Gallery until 4 January
Locky Morris: A Week in Goals
Just next door to Deano’s barber in Creggan, the Republican heartland of Derry, Locky Morris, who grew up here and whose mum lives around the corner, is showing works that, he says are ‘picking up on the local landscape’ in the form of sound works, photographs and sculptures. Not surprisingly, many have personal stories - a funeral of his mum’s next door neighbour; the view from his mother’s house; sound recording of his two daughters journey to school several years apart and spliced together. Why these personal subjects? ‘It is like the Conflict. You cant ignore it.’
Creggan Estate until 7 December
The centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout - the culmination of major strikes for dock, tram and factory works from Belfast to Cork from 1907 onwards - is the stimulus for ten artists contributing to this exibition, which considers how the conditions of labour shaped, and will shape, work at the moments of 1913, 2013 and 2113.
Centre for Contemporary Art until 2 November
The History of Derry in 100 objects
Tying in with Derry’s City of Culture celebrations, this trail of evocative objects takes visitors across the city to its many different venues and attractions. Suggested by members of the public, the objects range from ‘traditional’ museum-style artefacts to more unexpected contemporary choices, together building up a compelling history of the city.
Various venues across the city, starting at Guildhall until 31 December
No Jury No Prize
Didn’t get shortlisted for the Turner Prize? Don’t worry! You can submit work of any medium to this open-invitation, open-brief show, encouraging a ‘creative response’ from local and regional artists. Each participant can only submit one work, but as long as it’s no larger than either one foot squared or one foot cubed, ready for hanging or installation and not in breach of ‘basic standards of a public gallery,’ it’s guaranteed to be accepted.
London Street Gallery until 11 November