As I was drying my hands in the Tate Britain, I realised that I was more mesmerised by the blue light projected on my knuckles by the hand dryer than by anything I had seen at the Turner Prize exhibition. I think I could project more meaning onto this installation as well. I really liked that hand dryer.
I am thinking of making a film called Turner Prize and Hooch, a cop buddy movie in which a police dog is teamed up with an ice cream tub filled with excrement and Sindy dolls.
It is a cliché to be non-plussed by The Turner prize, and I don’t think I even reached that level of emotional reaction. I went with an artist friend in the hope they could “translate” for me.
Sometimes, my problem with contemporary art is that I will be informed that it will make me see cotton buds or rawlplugs or pedal bins in a new way. Liberated from their domestic or plaster board habitat, new light will fall on the everyday. Unfortunately, as an oddball, I quite often outstare domestic objects in my humdrum life as well as in gallery spaces, so the eldritch spell doesn’t really work for me.
I stared from different angles, I peered casually and intensely, but nothing struck me, either delight or disgust, in room number one. My dissatisfaction is that I don’t want to dislike the work. It takes a lot of effort to come up with concepts and make them flesh or plastic. I would rather enjoy the work, but all I thought of was the horror my wife would feel if I brought something like this home, and as she beat me about the head with rolled newspapers and plant pots, i would protest, “but darling, it is art!”.
Room 2 holds the much-heralded giant bottom that has been the hot selfie spot of the last few weeks. We were disappointed in the lack of detail. A more realistic giant bum may have been more aesthetically pleasing or suspenseful. This bum lacked a bummishness. Sadly, I imagine it will be out of the price range of Margate’s Dreamland, but I think it could create some joyousness there.
There was a prettiness and playfulness in Anthea Hamilton’s room and the recreation of June London sky reminded me of Magritte skies but without the interference of a floating obelisk or bowler hatted men.
Then there were some big pictures of hands doing boring things with a big toy train you couldn’t sit on in the middle of the room. My friend suggested it may have been more fun of a track had been set up to take us around the four rooms, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be fun.
I am told Michael Dean will win as his art is political. He has created a landscape of one penny coins that looks like a Beckett set if a production of Waiting for Godot was sponsored by the Royal Mint or a nickel poisoned version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe . The pile is one pence less than the minimum amount the government believes a family can survive on, though it seems that some hostile vandals of meaning have been adding pennies (while others have taken some pennies, so it might balance out).
I left the exhibition with a ho-humification of my senses.
The cork board of comment outside was light on praise.
“Coin guy is the best…followed by butt girl”
“spotted a 2 pence coin in the pile”
“The art of no art?”
“the giant arse is a new low. It mocks this gallery. please give it to The Louvre”
Then I went into Trip (the light fantastic) by Sophie Michael. It had pipe organs playing and a magic band filmed on 8mm. The balance was restored.
Book Shambles is back with Alan Moore, Noel Fielding, Lisa Dwan, Sarah Bakewell and more to come.