4 Turner Prize Nominees Are Announced

Posted April 26, 2018 1:22 p.m. EDT

LONDON — An organization that uses architectural rendering software to uncover human rights abuses and three artists depicting social, racial and political issues in film have been nominated for the Turner Prize, Britain’s prestigious contemporary art award, Tate Britain announced Thursday.

The research organization Forensic Architecture, and artists Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson have been shortlisted for the prize, awarded annually to an artist born or living in Britain for an outstanding exhibition in the previous year. The winner will receive 25,000 pounds ($35,000), and the other nominees will each receive 5,000 pounds.

The Turner Prize, founded in 1984, could be likened to the Oscar of the art world, and it can give a major boost to an artist’s career. Former recipients include Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread, Gillian Wearing, Steve McQueen and Grayson Perry. The British news media, which eagerly covers the award, has often turned the prize into an opportunity to examine, or denounce, the state of contemporary art.

Last year, the prize was opened to artists 50 and older, but the change was moot this year: All of the artists on the shortlist are younger.

Forensic Architecture — nominated for exhibitions in London; Barcelona, Spain; and Mexico City — is a collaboration of architects, artists, filmmakers, software developers, archaeologists, scientists and others, based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The group, Michael Kimmelman wrote in The New York Times recently, “scours for evidence of lies, crimes and human rights violations — combining the spatial and engineering skills of architects, the data-gathering prowess of librarians, the doggedness of investigative journalists and the storytelling finesse of screenwriters.”

Mohaiemen, nominated for his participation in Documenta 14 and his solo exhibition at MoMA PS1 in New York, creates films that draw on family history, threaded with reflections on colonialism, politics and religion. “He aptly shows not just how the personal is always entwined with the political, but how history veers from neat linear narratives into circular, concentric and even fantastic and unimaginable patterns and designs,” Martha Schwendener wrote in The Times in January.

Prodger was chosen for her solo exhibition “Bridgit/Stoneymollan Trail,” a film that combines videos shot on camcorders and iPhones since the 1990s, overlaid with texts from science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany and singer Nina Simone. “The cumulative effect of Stoneymollan Trail is elegiac,” Adrian Searle wrote in The Guardian. “Prodger channels the voices of the living and the dead, mixing them with her own past.”

The New Zealand-born Thompson was nominated for his solo exhibition “Autoportrait,” a silent 35-millimeter film of Diamond Reynolds, who shared video on Facebook Live of the moments after her partner, Philando Castile, was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota. “Portrayed in black and white against a plain dark backdrop, she has the aura of a Renaissance madonna or a Garbo-era movie star,” Hettie Judah commented in The Guardian last year. “Thompson shows her as a formidable, complex presence.”

An exhibition of work by the four finalists will open at Tate Britain on Sept. 25 and run though Jan. 6. Under a new partnership with BNP Paribas, entry will be free for those 25 or younger in the first 25 days of the show.

The winner of the 2018 prize, chosen by a four-person jury led by Alex Farquharson, the director of Tate Britain, will be announced at a ceremony broadcast live on the BBC in early December.