Price wins Turner Prize for contemporary artLONDON - British video artist Elizabeth Price won the coveted Turner Prize for contemporary art on Monday, delighting critics who had championed her film about a fatal fire in Manchester in 1979, describing it variously as “terrifying” and “exhilarating.”
The 46-year-old was the least familiar of four artists shortlisted for the annual prize, and she beat out the bookmakers’ favorite Paul Noble to win a check for ￡25,000 ($40,000) and earn instant recognition and acclaim.
Price said that after the awards she intended to celebrate with her family and might find it easier to consider her feelings about winning the prize following a night’s reflection.
“I’ll probably know tomorrow, although I’ll probably have a hangover,” she told reporters. “But I might have a more lucid answer tomorrow. It certainly doesn’t feel bad.”
The artist was honored for her show earlier this year at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, near Newcastle, where three video works were on display including one which traveled to London for the Turner Prize exhibition.
“The Woolworths Choir of 1979” brings together photographs of church architecture, Internet clips of pop performances and news footage of a fire in Manchester in which 10 people died.
By weaving together apparently unrelated topics and visual styles as well as text and music, Price seeks to demonstrate that any kind of information, be it dry or catchy, can be transmitted in an arresting way.
“When I started making the work I didn’t know it would end up being about that subject in a way and I did take that very seriously,” she told Britain’s Channel 4, which broadcast the awards live on television. “But I’m very interested in those kinds of social, historical stories and think art is the way to remember them and think about them.”
Art critics, who were generally complimentary about this year’s shortlist, were fulsome in their praise of the film.
“It is 20 of the most exhilarating minutes I’ve ever spent in an art gallery,” said Richard Dorment of the Telegraph in his review of the Turner Prize show at Tate Britain in London in October.
“What is more, as I watched it with mounting excitement, I began to realize that I was in the presence of an artwork that has the potential fundamentally to change the way knowledge is transferred, the way we teach and the way we learn.”