The annual Turner Prize, given to a British artist under the age of 50, has just been awarded to Martin Boyce. The five-person panel selected Boyce’s exhibition “A Library of Leaves” at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich as the best show presented in the year preceding the May 2010 announcement of the nominees.
This exhibition, and many of Boyce’s other recent “design interventions,” is inspired by four concrete trees created by Joël and Jan Martel for the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs. “No Reflections,” Boyce’s contribution to the 2009 Venice Biennale, for example, was installed in several rooms of a 15th-century palazzo: Boyce replaced the chandeliers with black-painted aluminum fixtures and covered the floor with a combination of big, geometric slabs of concrete and delicate cut-out paper strewn about like crunchy fallen leaves.
The 43-year-old Scot beat out installation artist Karla Black, video artist Hilary Lloyd and painter George Shaw for the approx. $40,000 award (the runners-up each receive about $7,800). The announcement was made at the BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, a city on the northeast coast of England, where Boyce’s work has been on view—along with the three other nominees—since Oct. 21 (through Jan. 8); this marks the first time the prize has been given at a non-Tate venue. For Do Words Have Voices, his installation at the Baltic, Boyce turned the gallery’s columns into trees by hanging a canopy of white aluminum “leaves” from the ceiling.