Shock as traditional artist makes Turner shortlist

Last updated at 17:17 02 June 2005

The Turner Prize provided a shock of a different kind when an artist known for painting the most conventional of subject matters - vases of flowers - was shortlisted for the usually controversial award.

Gillian Carnegie, 34, is the first artist who exclusively uses paint as a medium to be nominated for the £25,000 prize for five years.

The other three nominees announced today are Wigan-born Darren Almond, who displayed bus stops he saw outside the Auschwitz Museum in Poland in a gallery in Berlin; Glasgow-born Jim Lambie, who is known for his psychedelic floor pieces, and environmentally friendly artist Simon Starling, 38, who rode a moped across the desert in Andalucia which generated power using only compressed bottled hydrogen and oxygen from the desert air.

The only waste product from the moped's crossing was water which was contained in a bottle and used back in the studio to create a watercolour painting of a cactus from the Epsom, Surrey-born artist's travels.

The judges said although Carnegie used traditional genres such as landscape, still life and portraiture, her work explored the "fundamental properties of painting".

One surprise about the award this year came in its presentation.

The organisers are assembling a virtual tour of the Turner Prize at mainline UK train stations in the hope of bringing the shortlist to a new audience.

The prize has previously thrown up controversial winners such as Damien Hirst, famous for his pickled shark, Chris Ofili, known for incorporating elephant dung into his paintings, and transvestite potter Grayson Perry.

Last year's winner was Jeremy Deller, who created a film about US President George Bush's hometown and re-enacted a pitched battle from the 1984 miners' strike.

The Turner Prize is awarded to a British artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of his or her work in the previous year.

All shortlisted artists are invited to present work in the prize show, which starts on October 18 and the winner is announced on December 5.

Chairman of the judging panel and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota said: "The shortlist shows the extraordinary depth of both experience and talent in British art."

All the artists have had strong showings abroad.

Sir Nicholas added: "That we can make another shortlist that's as strong as this tells us a great deal about the strength of British art shows from an international perspective."

He said the four selected artists all worked so differently but they had not set out to select such different individuals.

Almond uses photography, film, sculpture and installation in his works, which have included a live satellite broadcast in which a wall sized projection of his own empty London studio was transmitted into an exhibition venue on the other side of the capital.

His ongoing Fullmoon series consisted of long exposure photographs of landscapes taken at night which "portray a powerful and eerie sense of frozen time".

Judges said of the 34-year-old's work Bus Stop, which involved exchanging the real things outside the Auschwitz Museum with the newly built replacements, that he had "attempted to represent the unrepresentable - the Holocaust".

They said they were impressed by the experimental nature of his work and that he was "not afraid to tackle the largest or smallest subjects".

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