We have to admit, when we heard that an imaginary painter had achieved a Turner Prize nomination, we thought someone was getting away with blank canvasses masquerading as art. Maybe it’s just a matter of time.
But no, when Lynette Yiadom-Boakye paints her imaginary portraits, and people might not be real, but the portraits certainly are. Derry-Londonderry - 2013's UK City of Culture – will see £25k handed to either Yiadom-Boakye, French installation artist Laure Prouvost, Britain's David Shrigley and the British-German performance artist Tino Sehgal. "Both structured and improvised, Seghal's intimate works consist purely of live encounters between people and demonstrate a keen sensitivity to their institutional context," said organisers, "through participatory means, they test the limits of artistic material and audience perception in a new and significant way." Long said the each of the four shortlisted artists represented "remarkable developments" in art. "There's so much range here, it's fantastic," he told the BBC's arts editor Will Gompertz.
This year, there’s certainly a whimsical aspect to the nominees. As The Guardian notes, “A streak of subversive humour runs through the work of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Tino Sehgal, Laure Prouvost and David Shrigley” The Turner Prize, won last year by Elizabeth Price, was established in 1984 and is awarded to a British or British-based artist under fifty for outstanding work in the previous year. The winner will be announced on December 2.