Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment

If the only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty then this year's Turner prize show was a good example. Last year I was un-inspired and this year it's great. But then, I've always been addicted. I love the Turner Prize and I go every year for three reasons: for the spectacle of the event itself; for a curiosity to see the work and for the ideals behind the exhibition.

It's got it all, if not always in the work then in the public that views it. To an architect, it's a spectacle like no other.

I'm fascinated by the electric interaction between the public, the gallery space and the art on display. I remember being really excited at my first Turner Prize when I was six - and this year was no exception. After rescuing my stiletto, which had attached itself to a crack in Simon Starling's wooden structure Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No.2), I was swept through the exhibition along with the rest of the British public - all united in their curiosity of creative endeavour.

In a way, it's the great exhibition of our time - and because of that I always think it's sad that it's not free to enter.

I like the fact that it was named in memory of a painter who wanted to set up a prize for young aspiring artists.

Interestingly, this year they really were. Almost all the artists showed a curious, yet intelligent, restraint in their use of single media. In his subtle use of the moving image, Darren Almond - with an incredible lightness of touch - records a portrait of his widowed grandmother. Gillian Carnegie's journeys through the qualities and textures of paint are best shown in her Black Square paintings, which looked almost edible in their depiction of woodland scenes, vigorously but delicately created in tar-like black oils.

Meanwhile, Starling creates a sharp adaptation of objets trouvés through his Shedboatshed and other pieces. It is almost as if there is a return to a Ruskinian zeal for artistic and creative specialism and an emphasis on the processes of production.

Perhaps there are some parallels with contemporary young architects, who, faced with a construction industry where the parameters for technological innovations are expanding by the day, need to specialise in their skills in order to achieve clarity in their work.

From the Turner Prize's inception in 1984, the question has always been on what criteria the honour is awarded.

But it's exactly this debate, encouraging the public to think over the intangible act of creativity for creativity's sake, that holds the value of the prize for me, not who wins or why they win. As Oliver Holmes once said: 'Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.' To create, in our increasingly consumerist society, an event where four people's creative vision, ideas and work in one gallery can raise a public debate that the whole country interacts and engages with is, for me, a formidable achievement and the reason I will continue to go.

Holly Porter works for Kohn Pedersen Fox in London.

Email: ajcolumnists@emap. com

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs