I’ve been to the Turner Contemporary on many occasions. I’ve seen exhibitions I’ve really enjoyed and some that have left me cold. Having read the reviews of the Turner Prize 2019 exhibition I wasn’t particularly keen to go but my husband suggested we should go before the exhibition closes (on 12 January?) – his attitude being that the Turner prize is unlikely to return to Margate and it is, after all, our closest art gallery. So on a sunny day in December (when I should have been preparing for Christmas) we drove down to Margate to make up our own minds about the works on show.
Margate was looking lovely in the winter sun and Antony Gormley’s figure in the water outside the Turner gallery proved to be the best bit of art I saw that day (in my humble opinion), although I was also rather impressed by an installation on an old shelter close to the Turner, which I think summed things up rather well “I DONE A THING NOW WHERE’S MY PRIZE?”.
We started off by having lunch at the Turner; only soup and a herb scone on this occasion, but there’s a lovely sea view from the restaurant and the food is good. Then we headed upstairs to the exhibition. The four finalists this year had agreed to share the prize, maybe an acknowledgement that none of them thought they deserved to win!
Oscar Murillo – we weren’t really sure what it was all about even though the artist had gone to great lengths to try to explain it. Any work of art that has to be explained in great detail has, to my mind, failed.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan – audio installation. Probably the most successful of the works; very thought provoking.
Helen Cammock – a film that was 1 hour 39 mins. 23 secs. long – so unless you time your visit to fit the whole film in from the beginning it doesn’t really work. (We only saw the start times online after we’d visited.) Not very successful as an exhibit.
Tai Shani – rather weird.
You might assume from this review that I don’t like modern art; I do. My husband usually likes modern art more than I do and is very knowledgeable about art and artists but he was critical of the choice of finalists this year. This exhibition was very political and relied too much on the artists’ statements. If, after reading this, you would like to make up your own mind then you had better be quick as the exhibition closes on 12 January 2020 but check the website before travelling. Entry is by donation.