• France's news in English

French artist Prouvost scoops UK's Turner Prize

AFP/The Local · 3 Dec 2013, 08:53

Published: 03 Dec 2013 08:53 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French artist Laure Prouvost on Monday won Britain's Turner prize for contemporary art for her video installation set among a mock-tea party setting, it was announced at a ceremony in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

"The jury thought her work was outstanding for its complex and courageous combination of images and objects in a deeply atmospheric environment," said an official press release from Tate, the award's partners.

Young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, who starred in 2007 film Atonement, presented Prouvost, 35, the £25,000 ($40,000, 30,000-euro) award for her work, entitled "Wantee".

"I'm not ready, I didn't expect it at all," said the surprise winner.

"Four incredible artists here with me and the show. I thought it can't be me, I was sure it was not me. So thank you everybody.

"Thank you for adopting me, for having a French one, I feel adopted by the UK," she added.

"I've been here half my life. My boyfriend is half British and my daughter is both. It was really this country that let me grow."

The prize is unique in Britain in the way it sparks a debate among people who are not normally interested in art, with notorious British artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin helping to raise its profile.

The four nominees created a typically eclectic collection for this year's prize exhibition in Londonderry, the first time it has been staged outside England.

The work that got many visitors scratching their heads was Tino Sehgal's "This is Exchange", an empty room where guests are offered a small amount of money to engage in conversations about the market economy.

Another entry, David Shrigley's "Life Model", a larger-than-life naked humanoid robot which blinks and periodically urinates, was judged too offensive for some visiting school groups.

The most conventional artist to be nominated was Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, a portrait artist of Ghanaian descent and the first black woman to be shortlisted for the prize.

But it was Prouvost's study on the frustrations of an artist that most impressed the judges.

The visual piece, full of quick cuts and montage, shows art work created by Prouvost's fictional grandfather being used by his wife for household chores, symbolising the lack of control an artist often has over their output.

The video was a response to the artist Kurt Schwitters, and the title "Wantee" comes from Schwitters' girlfriend, because she frequently asked "want tea?"

Judges called the piece "unexpectedly moving", adding that the artist "takes viewers to an inner world, while making reference to the streaming of images in a post-Internet age".

Prouvost was born in Croix-Lille, but moved to London to study at the city's Goldsmiths College and Central St Martins.

She is known for films and installations "characterised by richly layered narrative, language, translation, and surreal interruptions," according to Tate.

Story continues below…

The prize was established in 1984 by the Tate gallery in London in honour of 19th-century J. M. W. Turner, who had long wished to set up an award for younger artists.

It is open to any contemporary artist under the age of 50 who is living, working or born in Britain, and is judged on the work they have put on in the last 12 months.

The controversy that surrounded previous entries - notably Emin's "My Bed" in 1999, an unmade bed full of empty vodka bottles, used condoms and soiled underwear - has subsided as contemporary art has become commonplace.

The prize is part of the celebrations for the 2013 UK City of Culture in Londonderry, which is best known for one of the worst episodes of the violence in Northern Ireland.

The exhibition has been staged at the former Ebrington barracks, where British soldiers were based when they fired on civil rights protesters on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

An inquiry in 2010 found that all 14 people killed and many more injured were unarmed and completely innocent.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available