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Duncan Campbell wins Turner Prize 2014 with IRA film

LONDON (Reuters) - Irish-born Glasgow artist Duncan Campbell won Britain's prestigious Turner Prize on Monday for an essay film using a famous image of an Irish Republican Army guerrilla to explore how histories can be constructed.
/ Source: Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Irish-born Glasgow artist Duncan Campbell won Britain's prestigious Turner Prize on Monday for an essay film using a famous image of an Irish Republican Army guerrilla to explore how histories can be constructed.

The annual award for contemporary art was presented to Campbell by BAFTA-winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in a televised ceremony at Tate Britain, which oversees the prize.

The Turner winner gets 25,000 pounds ($39,358) with 5,000 pounds for each of the three runners-up - James Richards of Wales, Tris Vonna-Michell of England and Ciara Phillips, a Canadian living in Scotland.

Campbell is famous for works tackling power structures and other complex issues, such as the relationship between Britain and Ireland.

His winning entry, "It For Others", uses the 1971 image of Joe McCann, sometimes called "the Che Guevara of the IRA", to show how images can be turned into commodities of mass culture.

The famous picture of McCann, who was shot dead by British soldiers less than a year after the photo was taken, became part of pop culture to the point where the image of McCann and his M1 rifle was emblazoned on T-shirts and Christmas stockings.

"He always takes serious questions... but then what he does is treat them in quite an unusual way and this film is even more unusual than some of his earlier works," said Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain, who chaired this year's jury.

"It's a work that really does repay sustained attention."

Past winners of the Turner Prize, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, include Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and last year's laureate Laure Prouvost.

The award, named after the 19th-century English landscape and seascape painter J.M.W. Turner, has often courted controversy for shortlisting unconventional pieces of art and is regularly lampooned in Britain's tabloid press.

The works of Campbell and the three other finalists will be exhibited at Tate Britain until January 4, 2015.

(1 US dollar = 0.6352 British pound)

(Editing by Tom Heneghan)