A group of 11 artists and activists have won the prestigious Turner Prize after turning a gallery space into a pub in Ireland.
Array Collective, which uses installations, performance art and demonstrations to explore social issues, was announced this year’s winners at a ceremony in Coventry, UK, on Wednesday Private.
The award-winning artwork “The Druithaib’s Ball” shows the collective reimagining a “síbín” – an illegal pub, or an “unlicensed pub”, as the artists put it – to mark 100 years since Ireland was partitioned.
Originally installed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the pub at the heart of “The Druithaib’s Ball” has been recreated at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery in Coventry, UK. Credit: David Levene
Like much of the group’s previous work, the installation combines contemporary art and historic folk imagery, with a circular arrangement of flagpoles alluding to ancient Irish ceremonial sites. . Posters and pictures line the walls, while the roof of the pub is decorated with banners with messages including “Stop ruining things.”
At an event in Belfast earlier this year, the collective invited artists, activists and “semi-mythical sellers” to perform traditional music, dance and storytelling. The collective then recreated the installation at an art gallery in Coventry for the annual Turner Prize exhibition, where the videos show scenes from the original event.
In a press release, the prize’s organizers said the group’s “hopeful and dynamic” art tackles pressing social and political issues affecting Northern Ireland with humor, serious rich and beautiful. Tate, the museum group behind the award, said the jury was “impressed” by how the collective “was able to translate their activities and values into the gallery environment, creating an exhibition welcoming, engaging and surprising.”
Array Collective received the 2021 Turner Prize at a ceremony in Coventry, which has been named the UK’s 2021 City of Culture. Credit: Matt Alexander / PA . String
Receiving the award at a televised ceremony Wednesday, collective member Laura O’Connor described the award as “surreal.”
She added that the collective is considering putting in a £25,000 ($33,000) bonus to “have somewhere permanent to work”, noting that the team “will soon be removed from our space”. I.”
This year’s shortlist is mostly collective, with no individual artists nominated for the first time in the award’s 37-year history. The jury, chaired by Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson, noted that the 2021 shortlist reflects “the solidarity and generosity shown in response to our divided times. me.”
Other contenders, each of which received £10,000 ($13,000), include the London Cooking Sections Collective and the Black Obsidian Sound System, who used their installations to explore the environmental impact of their installations. food production and discrimination faced by disadvantaged groups in the UK. Elsewhere, Project Art Works featured the work of neuro-allergic artists while the Cardiff-based Gentle/Radical group presented a range of video works, including one of them singing songs 18th century Welsh prayer.
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Although usually awarded to a single artist, the award has previously been won by both a group (architectural collective Assemble 2015) and a duo (Gilbert and George 1986).