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Here’s the 2018 Turner Prize Shortlist – Artists Tackling ‘The Most Pressing Political Issues of Today’

Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson are this year’s nominees

Forensic Architecture, Destruction and Return in the al-Araqib Negev/Naqab Desert, Israel/Palestine, 2010–ongoing, photograph of Ariel Caine, Hagit Keysar and the children of Araqib flying kites mounted with cameras on the edge of the al-Turi Cemetery, Is

Forensic Architecture, Destruction and Return in the al-Araqib Negev/Naqab Desert, Israel/Palestine, 2010–ongoing, photograph of Ariel Caine, Hagit Keysar and the children of Araqib flying kites mounted with cameras on the edge of the al-Turi Cemetery, Israel/Palestine, 2016. Courtesy: Ariel Caine and Forensic Architecture

Forensic Architecture, Destruction and Return in the al-Araqib Negev/Naqab Desert, Israel/Palestine, 2010–ongoing, photograph of Ariel Caine, Hagit Keysar and the children of Araqib flying kites mounted with cameras on the edge of the al-Turi Cemetery, Israel/Palestine, 2016. Courtesy: Ariel Caine and Forensic Architecture

This morning, Tate Britain announced the four nominees for the 2018 Turner Prize: Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson.

The shortlist highlights artists ‘tackling the most pressing political and humanitarian issues of today’, Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson commented. They show ‘how important the moving image has become’ in engaging with such subjects, Farquharson said, and the nominees’s strong international presence ‘exemplify the mobility of the contemporary art world’. The jury members acknowledged the focus on the political power of art in this year’s shortlist, though ‘all art resides in the realm of the political,’ juror Lisa LeFeuvre qualified.

Forensic Architecture is a multidisplinary research group based at Goldsmiths, University of London, founded in 2010 by architect and theorist Eyal Weizman; their work, presented as both legal evidence as well as art exhibits, is focused on remapping state impunity. They have been nominated for their participation in documenta 14, as well as exhibitions at the ICA London, MACBA Barcelona and MUAC Mexico. They remind us that ‘surveillance tools and resources in the age of big data can, with effort, also be turned back against unaccountable states’, writes En Liang Khong in a 2018 review of their ICA show.

Naeem Mohaiemen, born in 1969 in London, produces films which reflect on recent histories of the global radical Left – politics forms an urgent thread through his work. He has been shortlisted for his participation in documenta 14 and exhibition at MoMA PS1, New York. ‘Although his subjects are often idealists with failed dreams, Mohaiemen is optimistic about the future’ writes Sarinah Masukor in a 2018 feature on his films.

Charlotte Prodger, born in Bournemouth in 1974, ‘foregrounds found strangeness through analogously fetishized modes of presentation’, producing filmed note-book-like collages in which the ‘permanently filming’ tradition is updated for the era of the iPhone, writes Paul Carey-Kent in a 2016 review of her work. Nominated for an exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall, Prodger mines the material properties of moving image formats, probing the traditions of landscape and portraiture in the process.

Luke Willis Thompson, born in 1988 in Auckland, is a London-based artist known for his stark filmic explorations of social issues. He has been nominated for his exhibition at Chisenhale, London. His work autoportrait (2017) presented an exploration of grief, a silent study of Diamond Reynolds, the partner of Philando Castile shot dead by a police officer in July 2016 in Minnesota, United States. Thompson’s work encourages us to ‘look, look and look again’ writes Karen Archey in a 2016 review of his work.

An exhibition of the shortlisted artists will be held at Tate Britain from 25 September 2018 to 6 January 2019. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on in December, broadcast live on the BBC.

Founded in 1984, this year’s Turner Prize is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding presentation of work in the year preceding 16 April 2018. It comes with a cash award of GBP£40,000 – £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 for the other nominees.

Last year’s edition brought an important change with the under-50 age rule scrapped. The rule had originally been introduced to focus on new, younger work rather than established names. The rule change resulted in a significantly more diverse 2017 shortlist with all nominees over the age of 40 (and Lubaina Himid, aged 62, winning the prize). This year’s nominees features noone over the age of 50 (with Mohaiemen, aged 49, being the eldest).

The members of the Turner Prize 2018 jury are Oliver Basciano, International Editor at ArtReview; Elena Filipovic, Director at Kunsthalle Basel; Lisa LeFeuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute and the novelist Tom McCarthy.

Main image: Luke Willis Thompson, autoportrait, 2017, installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, London. Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and produced in partnership with Create. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Andy Keate

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