Tate Britain Exhibition

Turner Prize 2005

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The Turner Prize 2005 was awarded to Simon Starling. Culture Minister David Lammy presented the artist with the £25,000 prize


Winner combines craft, concept and a journey – but can it be art?

The appearance of a ‘traditional painter’ on the shortlist, Gillian Carnegie, first attracted newspaper headlines, but it was Simon Starling’s Shedboatshed – a shed transformed into a boat and sailed down the Rhine before being reconstructed back into a shed in the gallery – that initiated the habitual flurry of ‘is it art?’ questions. In presenting the Prize to Starling, for the second year running the award prioritised an artist with a process-based practice whose projects mostly took shape outside the gallery. In this year the Tate Patrons relinquished their seat on the jury to be replaced by a ‘representative from the media'.


  • Louisa Buck, London contemporary art correspondent, The Art Newspaper
  • Kate Bush, Head of Art Galleries, Barbican Art Gallery
  • Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, art critic and Lecturer, Modern Irish Department, University College Dublin
  • Eckhard Schneider, Director, Kunsthaus Bregenz
  • Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chairman of the Jury

Turner Prize 2005 in quotes

Art for me is a free space to explore things. The things I do don’t always come out looking like conventional works of art. But then I’m like any artist these days working in relation to a long history of art. I think the press is a long way behind understanding this or responding to art in a sympathetic way. I got a lovely poem from a lady in St Albans about sheds.
Simon Starling as quoted in The Guardian, 2005

Shedboatshed is an object, a thought and an action. It expresses complex things quietly in simple bold steps. When an artist can turn a shed into a boat and back he has the kind of creative freedom we all need.
Visitor comment, 2005

I’m not entirely sure whether it counts as art … I’m dead certain that it’s not conceptual art. Then again, however, in just raising these questions, maybe it is.
Guy Dammann, Guardian Unlimited, December 2005

Tate Britain

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18 October 2005 – 22 January 2006

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