On Monday night, i-D travelled up to Newcastle/Gateshead on the East Coast Line, courtesy of Nokia – sponsors of this year’s Turner Prize.
On a freezing cold night, we walked along the stunning Gateshead riverside, with its towering iron-arched bridges, its neon-lit blinking Millennium Bridge, its egg-shaped Sage music ball and, finally, the Baltic. Once inside the old flour mill turned glassy art spaceship, we were just in time to run around the Turner Prize exhibition and watch the awards ceremony. After a pretty Lauren Laverne, a dishevelled Matthew Collings and a sharp-snooded Goldie had discussed the merits of each artist – and Mario Testino had avoided a tussle with a mystery man in a pink tutu and thong – the world’s leading art prize was awarded by Mario to… Martin Boyce!
Boyce, most notorious for reforming classics of modern furniture design into strange tribal sculptures, won with an understated, autumnal exhibition that took the language of early 20th century modernism and made it contemporary. In his room, air conditioning grills were covered with geometric patterns, angular representations of fallen leaves were scattered across the floor and colourful mobiles descended from a brutalist table while a ceiling of shards floated overhead. The following rooms showed the three other artists on the shortlist: Hilary Lloyd’s video abstractions of moons in the sky, sharply mounted on pole-dancing monitors; Karla Black’s wondrous pastel worlds of tissue, paper and pigment powders falling from the ceiling; and George Shaw’s realist portraits of desolate suburban scenes.
Text: Dean Kissick