The ‘art experts’ who brought us old urinals, piles of bricks, a pickled shark and an unmade bed have excelled themselves this year with an exhibit that pays homage to the ‘excremental form’. Or what you and I would call ‘a pile of old s**t’.
Yes, the good old Turner Prize season is round again and, once more, the shortlist of works in the running for Britain’s top modern art award is pushing boundaries; or, in the case of Paul Noble’s drawings of people made of poo who have sex in public, pushing the boundaries of good taste.
Londoner Noble, 48, has dedicated 15 years to producing highly detailed graphite drawings of an imaginary ruined city called Nobson Newtown whose residents are made of human excrement. And, just in case that’s not shocking enough, some scenes show the citizens (or should that be ‘sh-itizens’) indulging in public orgies. It’s enough to give any critic an art attack!
The judges praised Noble for his “utterly compelling ongoing narrative”, describing it as a “limitless journey of discovery”in a “dysfunctional world” where “people become turds and turds become people”.
As a journalist I realise the Turner Prize makes good copy (probably the whole idea) but can they really be serious? Did none of these people ever read Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Emperor’s New Clothes?
Meanwhile, in an interview for Sky News Sunrise, Tate Britain curator Lizzy Carey-Thomas (standing beside a ‘faecal sculpture’) spoke of Noble’s work as a celebration of “the excremental form”. She was completely ‘po’-faced when she said this, causing Sunrise’s down-to-earth presenter Eamonn Holmes to quip: “It reminds me I’ve got to take the dog for a walk.” Now that’s the kind of honest art review I like!
But is it art? Or just ‘waste product’ …
The Turner Prize was established in 1984 to award British artists under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in last 12 months. The winner (who receives £25,000) will be announced in December. The exhibition of shortlisted works, which also includes a puppet show based on Star Wars characters created by a nudist named Spartacus, can be seen at Tate Britain until January 2013.
You couldn’t make it up!