Published  14/12/2004

Turner Prize

The 2004 Turner Prize was awarded this December with very much less hype than previously. Does this mean that the Press are now aware of a diminishing level of public interest? This seems to be the case. And at 25,000 this seems less newsworthy. Jeremy Deller, aged 38, won with a film made in President George W. Bush's home state of Texas. 'Memory Bucket' 2003 investigated Texas in terms of two sites. The first is the Bush hometown of Crawford, the second, the infamous town of Waco, nearby. The artist uses the imagery of a great cloud of bats, emerging as a massive flow from a cave. Deller also added a second video, 'A Social Parade' where a social documentation illustrated the manner in which varied social groups in San Sebastian paraded along the main boulevard. This seemed both picturesque and, in the context, somewhat banal.

More intriguing is the creation of Turner nominees Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell. They chose to create a digital model of a house in Afghanistan where Osama Bin Laden holed up, in the late 1990s. In the animated video, visitors get to negotiate around a desolate bunker portrayed at Tate Britain on several screens. Unfortunately, a survey published on 6 December reveals that only 12% of artists widely polled considered that the winner, Jeremy Deller, could be said to represent 'the best of British Art'. The Turner Prize now seems to be at a crossroads.

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