So it’s that time of year again, when the Turner prize nominees get acres of publicity for making the art critics question whether something they’ve done is indeed “art” or simply just a publicity stunt. One piece on the shortlist is Fiona Banner’s ‘Arsewoman In Wonderland’ basically porn masquerading as art; it’s a wall with lot’s of swear words, and other words (not always correctly spelled) written in pink letters, there’s also a multicoloured Perspex ceiling (which looks quite interesting – on the basis that because you’re simply taking notice of the ceiling you are going to appreciate the space more), an installation of two films, one of which I believe was shot at Canary Wharf, and a black monolithic block with a computer inside it, apparently it’s a thinker, but surely if it’s a computer it simply computes, it doesn’t think, because saying it “thinks” would be to imply that it has some form of intelligence, which as we all know the computer doesn’t have?
I’ve never been a great fan of the Turner prize, my personal thoughts on it are it’s pretentiousness for the sake of being pretentious: the “dirty bed” was a perfect example of that, it was just a dirty bed, nothing more, nothing less, I could have taken the judges to an ex-flat mates house and showed them something similar, but would that have constituted art?
The thing is I like modern art, I like installations that challenge you to think on other levels, and consider that you may not be looking at it from the same angle the artist did. However the Turner prize never fails to disappoint me, the same style of “arty student” keeps popping up as the winner every year, and the general rule seems to be the more it shocks the more likely it is to win. I could (maybe I should?) just print out a million pages of A4 with “fuck” written on each one? It’s naive, it’s shocking, it’ll make you think, but is it art? – I think you’ll find, like many entering the Turner prize this year, that it’s not, as my art teacher at school said: “sorry – try harder next time”.