This year's winner makes me wonder why anyone should care about the Turner Prize. In the real world, the artist would be carted off by men in white coats. I am sure Turner would turn in his grave were he to witness some of the artist's "works", chosen to celebrate his name. Whatever happened to real artists? In my humble opinion, an artist should "create" their art, with a paintbrush, hammer and chisel, or nowadays, a computer. I intend to submit next year, My piece is called The Emperor's New Clothes. The winner should have been British. All conceptual art is bollocks! No doubt this crap will get pride of place in the Tate Modern with the rest of the junk in there. If some bloke called Gary from Preston who'd never been to art school had produced this work it would rightly be called bollocks.
No, these are not my views but selected comments from online Guardian, Daily Mail and BBC articles reporting that Laure Prouvost was this year's Turner Prize winner. I wonder how many of these erudite commenters have ever seen Prouvost's work, let alone made the trip over to Derry-Londonderry to experience her installation.
People disliking something is fine – necessary, even. But how much more valid and useful that judgement is when based on experience rather than prejudice or presumption. Well, now they have their chance with this small but timely offering of Prouvost's work at the Contemporary Art Society in London.
In a way it is appropriate that comment was passed on Prouvost's work without the most cursory of glances – her ongoing interest is in misreading, miscommunication and accidents of translation and reflection. But the poetic fact that unquestioning casual bemoaners of all conceptual and contemporary art are not entering into a balanced conversation with it, but are instead happy to potentially misread, mistranslate and briefly skim its surface in order to propagate preconceptions, will be somewhat lost on them.
Prouvost's installation in Derry-Londonderry was an all-encompassing transformation of the immaculate gallery space into a dirty and cluttered recreation of her (mythical) grandfather's rural Yorkshire house. Visitors sat on mismatched chairs around a dining table cluttered with eclectically crafted ceramic teapots and cups while watching her film. A short crawl through a hole in the wall led to a a pink womb-like cave, carpeted and comfortable, showing a video work. The work shown at the Contemporary Art Society comprises a single 9-minute looping video, Monolog (2009), a selection of artist books and four wooden wall signs, and so is not overly comparable. However, her approach and style is constant and while her video, for me, worked better when part of a bigger mixed-media installation, it is a good opportunity to see her work while her name is still trending.
The question of what makes artist-film different from that made for cinema or TV is often asked, and this throws some answers forward – that it loops with no discernible arc, that it's a poetic and non-narrative montage, that it plays with conventional editing processes and that it has at its heart self-awareness of the medium. If Tacita Dean's Tate Modern Turbine Hall installation from 2011, FILM, was interested in the technique of assembling and creating the aesthetic language, then Prouvost's is interested in the perceptions of director, protagonist and audience within the medium.
Monolog is from 2009 and Prouvost's work has evolved and deepened since then, but it is in her unique stylistic approach which led to her Turner Prize victory the night before this exhibition opened. Prouvost is 35 years old and her aesthetic approach to editing and montage strongly reflects her generation's disparate, lateral and heterogeneous approach to media.
The work presented here in London is in no way as immersive or deep as the installation in Derry-Londonderry, but as a primer and introduction to Prouvost's style it is recommended, and she's giving an artist's talk on 12th December. You will possibly find it difficult, annoying or crap – but much better to have that opinion with some grounding. And, well, you may find it interesting, enticing, and something which lingers in your thoughts.