An artist who transformed a condemned apartment into a shimmering crystal cave is among the finalists for Britain’s best-known and most controversial art award, the Turner Prize.
Organizers on Tuesday named four artists competing for the $37,000 prize, which is awarded annually to a British artist under 50.
Sculptor Roger Hiorns, 34, used thousands of gallons of liquid copper sulfate to turn a derelict London apartment into a cavern of blue crystals. Visitors had to wear protective clothing to visit the work, titled “Seizure.”
The shortlist also includes London-based Enrico David, 43, an Italian-born artist who creates installations, sculptures and drawings inspired by everything from traditional crafts to 20th-century surrealism.
Glasgow-based Lucy Skaer, 34, creates drawings, sculptures and films and often uses found photos in her work, while Richard Wright, 49, is a Glasgow-based painter inspired by architecture.
Art critic Jonathan Jones, one of Turner Prize’s five-member judging panel, said the shortlist would “remind people why British art is so exciting.”
“It shows there is a great deal of talent in contemporary art,” he said.
The Turner Prize, named after 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, was established in 1984 to honor young artists.
Organizers say it is intended to promote public discussion of art — which it does, often provoking comments along the lines of “Do you call that art?”
Past winners include “Brit Art” upstarts such as transvestite potter Grayson Perry, dung-daubing painter Chris Ofili and shark pickler Damien Hirst.
“Whatever people might say about the shortlist, it does provide a huge draw to the public,” said Stephen Deuchar, director of London’s Tate Britain gallery. “It is the one time of year when people feel empowered to talk about contemporary art.”
An exhibition of work by the finalists opens at Tate Britain on Oct. 7. The winner will be announced Dec. 7.