My Charlatan Status is Restored – The Turner Prize

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.

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2 Responses to My Charlatan Status is Restored – The Turner Prize

  1. Arthur says:

    Years ago I went to a gallery with a couple of friends out of our minds on LSD. We gleefully entered with the expectaction of being mindwarped by the works on display.

    But the art seemed flat and boring. Instead we became absorbed by the designs on floor; the carpets and tiles. Everyday objects were extraordinary.

  2. Hugh savage says:

    Every thing as been seen by art critics ..so art in general not just Turner prize has reached a road block ….The greatest artist sculptors are dead there work has been studied anaylize etc some critics our just fed up…..hugh s self taught artist I was pleasantly ..surprised by the quality of Turner prize this year and the standard ..I say keep it going another few years …a critic is like a compulsive over eater how has eat to much food he is just sick any way ..and there is no pleasing on him or her ..

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