Ferens Art Gallery

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Date of travel

December, 2017

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Stepping off Hull Trains in the UK City of Culture 2017, we headed for the information stand, only to see the turquoise-jacketed volunteers, head off en masse after another passenger to have their photograph taken with him. I was told it was Goldie, but like an out of touch High Court Judge, had to ask who Goldie was and was told he was a DJ and presenting the “Turner Prize”:http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/ferens-art-gallery/exhibition/turner-prize-2017 later that night (every other year, the exhibition is now held outside London).

Later in the day, we headed to Hull Minister to see what progress had been made on the renovations we’d seen on our previous visit. We were delighted to find that the Turner Prize announcement was being made later and we saw all the beautifully laid round tables ready for dinner complete with candelabra. The lighting was also being tested, which threw hues of various colours over the Minister’s interior. Chatting to volunteers we learned that the caterers were the upmarket Saunts Catering and that it was ‘a fancy menu with sea bass’ (I suppose when haddock and cod are the main fishes eaten, sea bass is fancy). We also noticed the considerable boxes of wine waiting to be served to the 205 guests.

After dinner we watched the ceremony, on BBC News and saw a much smarter Goldie present the award and the cheque for £40,000 to the oldest of the four short-listed artists, Lubaina Himid (this was the first year since 1991 that artists over 50 had been eligible). It was also interesting to learn that although the exhibition was open on 26 September, it had only been judged that afternoon.

The following day, we visited the Gallery to see the four exhibits.

We started with “Rosalind Nashashibi”:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/rosalind-nashashibi-7347/turner-prize-2017-biography whose entry consisted of two films. The first, Electrical Gaza, at 22 minutes depicted daily life in Gaza. However, with little commentary by way of explanation it was difficult to understand the relevance of seeing horses in the sea, a man reversing his car and another stuffing a pancake with squashed dates. The second, Vivian’s garden was even longer, and told of the relationship between a mother and daughter living in Guatemala. We thought it was like a bad home movie!

“Lubaina Himid’s”:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/lubaina-himid-2356/turner-prize-2017-biography exhibits consisted of the faces of black slaves painted on old fashioned random crockery and a painted montage of various famous people and scenes – interestingly, looking from the side allowed us to see the cardboard boxes that had been cut up to create the exhibit.

It was easy to see why “Hurvin Anderson”:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/hurvin-anderson-12583/turner-prize-2017-biography had been the favourite with eye catching traditional paintings of scenery and barbers’ shops.

“Andrea Buttner”:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/andrea-buttner-turner-prize-2017-biography displayed a series of black and white line drawings depicting beggars and amongst others a pale blue canvas with pink ovals shapes titled ‘potatoes’. There was also lots of black and white photos and accompanying texts in beautiful handwriting.
During our visit, I was interviewed by BBC for their regional news programme, Look North, but sadly was left on the cutting room floor.

Whilst it was pure coincidence that our visit coincided with the announcement of the Tuner Prize, it proved to the one of our highlights.

The exhibition remains in Hull until 7 January 2017, so you’ll need to get your skates on if you want to see it.

Helen Jackson

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