The Turner Prize 2022: a ‘vintage’ shortlist?

All four artists look towards ‘growth, revival and reinvention’ in their work

Upside-down ice cream on plinth
Turner Prize-nominated Heather Phillipson’s The End monument in Trafalgar Square
(Image credit: Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Heather Phillipson, the artist who made “the installation of whipped cream topped with a cherry, drone and fly” that currently sits atop Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth, has been nominated for this year’s Turner Prize, said Miranda Bryant in The Times.

Phillipson, 44, is one of four artists on this shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious art award: the others are the visual artist Sin Wai Kin, a Canadian who “identifies as non-binary”; the pioneering black photographer Ingrid Pollard; and the sculptor Veronica Ryan. As usual, the artists will be invited to display their work in a free exhibition, to be held this year at Tate Liverpool, before the winner is announced at a televised ceremony in December.

The Turner Prize, established in 1984, is “one of the international art world’s major awards”, said Alex Marshall in The New York Times. It has long been a divisive event: in the 1990s, contenders including Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread and Tracey Emin were judged sufficiently controversial to inspire tabloid outrage. More recently, critics have complained that the nominees were “too obscure or that their work was more activism than art”.

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Last year, the prize was won by Array Collective, an 11-strong group of artists from Northern Ireland who attend protests “while holding homemade props and humorous banners”; in 2019, the nominees declared themselves joint winners, stating that their highly political work was “incompatible with the competition format”.

This year will be a vintage one, said Adrian Searle in The Guardian. “What a good Turner Prize shortlist this is”: the four artists work in an array of media, yet there are “thematic crossovers between them”. Pollard and Ryan, who both came from the Caribbean to the UK as children in the 1950s, address “the legacies of colonialism and migration”; Sin, born to a Hong Kong Chinese father and an English mother in 1991, questions “identity and place” in an altogether different way. All four artists look towards “growth, revival and reinvention”. In these times, such values are “needed more than ever”.

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