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Turner Prize 2019 opens at Turner Contemporary
Oscar Murillo, installation Turner Prize 2019 at Turner Contemporary. Photograph by David Levene.

MARGATE.- Today, Turner Contemporary unveiled an exhibition of work by the four artists shortlisted for Turner Prize 2019: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani. The exhibition will be held from 28 September 2019 to 12 January 2020 at Turner Contemporary in Margate. The winner will be announced on 3 December 2019 at an award ceremony broadcast live on the BBC as the official broadcast partner for the Turner Prize.

Artist and ‘private ear’ Lawrence Abu Hamdan creates audio-video installations, audio-archives and performances. For Turner Prize 2019 Abu Hamdan presents a sequence of three time-based works stemming from research exploring ‘earwitness’ testimony: evidence heard rather than seen. This research originates from an investigation Abu Hamdan undertook with Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture into the Syrian regime prison of Saydnaya. Abu Hamdan conducted earwitness interviews with six survivors to recall their acoustic memories and solicit testimony about what was happening inside the prison. These interviews had a profound impact on Abu Hamdan’s thought and practice, and he has dedicated this body of work to reflecting on, and attempting to express, what those prisoners taught him about the relationship of sound to memory, architecture and language.

Helen Cammock presents The Long Note, a film that examines the overlooked role of women in the civil rights movement in Derry, Northern Ireland that began in 1968. Weaving together archive material, original footage and contemporary interviews, The Long Note connects the struggles for civil rights in Northern Ireland to broader class, race and gender struggles globally in the late 1960s. Working in film, performance, printmaking and photography, Cammock explores the complexities of history and how histories are told, incorporating multiple voices and forms of language, while always acknowledging her own identity and voice. Cammock’s presentation also includes two performances, a reading space and a series of screen prints, Shouting in Whispers, which combines her own texts and quotations from sources ranging from the Trinidad-born political activist Claudia Jones to the group Public Enemy.

Incorporating painting, sculptural installation, video and performance, Oscar Murillo’s work explores globalisation and capitalism: exchange and movement, migration and community. For Turner Prize 2019, Murillo focuses on the political and socio-economic moment in the UK. A group of papier mâché figures, which represent a mobile and globalised workforce, have travelled to the exhibition by train. These are brought together with two large-scale bodies of un-stretched paintings, surge (social cataracts) and The Institute of Reconciliation, which reflect on ‘social blindness’ and ‘the darkness of the contemporary moment.’ Across Kent, schools are taking part in Murillo’s Frequencies project, an archive of canvases created by school students throughout the world.

Tai Shani works with performance, film, installation and sculpture. Taking inspiration from varied mythologies, histories and fiction, she creates dark and fantastical worlds, which while often disturbing, are full of utopian potential. For Turner Prize 2019, Shani presents a new installation version of DC: Semiramis. This four-year project takes inspiration from Christine de Pizan’s 15th century proto-feminist text The Book of the City of Ladies. With DC Shani creates a world in which historical events, science fiction and myths combine, building a radical vision of a future world born of an alternative past. DC: Semiramis is made up of twelve chapters, each of which centres around a key character. All twelve chapters are presented within this installation, activating the theatrical setting via a newly produced video narration.

One of the best known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984, the prize is named after JMW Turner (1775–1851) and aims to promote public interest in contemporary British art. It is awarded to an artist born or based in the UK for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the past twelve months.The Turner Prize award is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists.

It is the first time that the venue for the Turner Prize, outside of London, has had a direct connection with JMW Turner. Turner Contemporary stands on the site of the artist’s lodging house and enjoys views of the skies that Turner felt were ‘the loveliest in all Europe’. Turner Contemporary is working with partners across Kent to make Turner Prize 2019 an unforgettable moment for audiences from Margate, Kent and beyond. Entry to Turner Prize 2019 is free. Turner Contemporary is a charity, receiving public funding from Kent County Council and Arts Council England.

Turner Prize 2019 is curated by Rowan Geddis and Fiona Parry. The members of the Turner Prize 2019 jury are Alessio Antoniolli, Director, Gasworks & Triangle Network; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director of The Showroom Gallery and Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths; Victoria Pomery, Director, Turner Contemporary, Margate and Charlie Porter, writer. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain. Next year the prize will return to Tate Britain.

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September 27, 2019

Turner Prize 2019 opens at Turner Contemporary

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