It ‘s not clear whether Josephine Pryde’s train will be featured in the Tate later this year, but if it is, then it may lead to the most excited audience yet for the Turner Prize nominations. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to ride a train round the gallery?
Named after J.W. Turner because of his desire to support young artists, his own work was seen as controversial by his contemporaries. So the outcry that has surrounded the award in previous years is not a new phenomenon. The list of nominated artists makes for impressive reading. Many have gone on to achieve ‘national treasure’ status even if their work is not to the taste of everyone.
Whilst the artworks themselves may not make comfortable viewing for the home, the works often encapsulate something of the Zeitgeist. Thought provoking, definitely. Whatever the outcome it won’t be boring and will have brought contemporary art to the attention of a wider audience.
My own preference is for the work by Josephine Pryde, ‘Lapses in thinking by the person i Am’. Using a magazine style the subject of her photographs captures the lack of consciousness of our physical being while our attention is absorbed by technology or the presence of another. Given the current fashion for mindfulness, here the absence of presence, and the nature of identity associated with social media and the virtual world is captured. The train serves as a way of engaging the audience in the moment, a more memorable way to view the exhibition and definitely more fun than viewing it on a screen.