Tuesday, October 03, 2006

This year's Turner Prize

Looking at the nominees for this year's Turner Prize, I can't help it but praise the idea of the award itself.
Since conceptual art is truly today's leading art genre, it comes to no surprise that it is so heavily criticised. Art should be controversial; it should be talked about and discussed and the fact that the Turner Prize gives the chance for the more general public to see the essence of art come alive is a positive consequence of the rather dismal contemporary art scene.
J.M.W. Turner's work was itself controversial in its day even though that from an aesthetic point of view, it is indeed on a formidable level. The fact that it was 'different' at the time made it controversial and the situation with art now is parallel to what it was some 150 years or so, ago.
Therefore, since I am very open to all kinds of art, whether it would be conceptual or romantic, it still holds a certain philosophical substance which itself varies quite a lot.

Coming back to this year's nominees, I am actually surprised that these are meant to be the best conceptual artworks for the past year. Somehow, I am struck by the sheer banality of the artists and I can't bring myself to accept their work as nothing more than a profiteering scheme.
For a concept artwork to really work, originality is what makes the difference. If it is lacking in this department, then I am sorry, I don't think it belongs to Tate or any other gallery, for this matter.
Even though I find some of the nominated artworks fairly interesting, for example Phill Collins'Shady Lane Productions office does deserve some more thorough observation because it brings to life the real meaning of conceptual art by directly involving individuals to 'live' in it.

Nevertheless, the abstract paintings of Tomma Abts are still terribly short of originality and really, should paintings be nominated for the Turner Prize?

And yet, despite the controversy, there is this vacuum of excitement which is set upon public.
Why isn't conceptual art more exciting, more celebrated?
It seems to me that artists are giving up on the idea of elevating concepts at the expense of visual enjoyment and now, nothing can really shock the public since people are already used to being shocked.

Quite sad considering the potential of conceptual art. Why isn't every little idea, concept, thought and opinion squeezed into an artwork?
With the resources of today's technology, it is feasible to produce anything from anything.
So, every possible inch of the conceptual realm should be exploited in order to gain the interest of the wider public, not necessarily its acceptance.


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