The Turner Prize, a closely watched award given annually to a British artist, has named the four people nominated for this year’s edition. Up for consideration this year are Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim, and Barbara Walker, all of whom will show their work at Towner Eastbourne in East Sussex in September as part of the prize’s annual exhibition.
Darling makes sculptures that consider the fragility of the human body, often with a focus on issues related to gender and disability. He was nominated for recent solo shows at the Camden Art Centre and Modern Art Oxford.
Leung’s art is often highly conceptual and frequently deals with the notion of labor. A recent solo exhibition at New York’s Essex Street gallery focused on what she called a “resistive choice as a mother and artist,” with the sculptures formed from child safety gates, baby monitors, and more that were only viewable to the public during hours when she was in her studio. She was nominated for an exhibition at Simian in Copenhagen.
While best known for his paintings, Pilgrim was nominated for RAFTS, a performance, sound, and film work that was commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries and Barking Hall, both in London. The piece was a meditation on togetherness and mental health during the time of Covid. He is set to have a solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery later this year.
Walker is currently showing her work at the Sharjah Biennial, which earned her this nomination. There, she is exhibiting oversized portraits of members of the UK’s Windrush generation. Many of her works are likewise grand images of Black British people.
The Turner Prize is Britain’s top art award—and one of its most controversial. Because it tended to recognize conceptual art early on, it built up a reputation for polarizing the general public.
Past winners have included Wolfgang Tillmans, Chris Ofili, Anish Kapoor, Mark Leckey, Lubaina Himid, and Veronica Ryan.
Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chair of the prize’s jury, said in a statement, “The Turner Prize always offers the public a snapshot of British artistic talent today. These artists each explore the contrasts and contradictions of life, combining conceptual and political concerns with warmth, playfulness, sincerity and tenderness, and often celebrating individual identity and community strength.”
A winner of this year’s edition will be announced on December 5.