Martin Creed, No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000)

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Martin Creed's work No. 227: The lights going on and off (2000) consisted of an empty room filled with flickering light for five seconds which was then plunged into darkness, repeated over and over again. It confronted challenges facing conventional notions of space and the museum and caused controversy and incredulity when his nomination for the Turner Prize was announced in 2001. Deemed by some as an outrageous insult to art, the Daily Mail calling it 'absurd', others saw him as the heir to Duchamp. It created fierce debate, with protestors picketing the award ceremony when Madonna announced his victory, yet it fulfilled its criteria of what the award was about and got contemporary art onto the front pages of the newspapers.

Mother and Child Divided exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) by Damien Hirst born 1965 Damien Hirst, Mother and Child Divided (1995)
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mark_wallinger_state_britain_1 Mark Wallinger, State Britain (2007)
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In the past the Turner Prize has been an important catalyst in catapulting artists to national fame and the media success has prompted a wider conversation of what art is today - who can forget Grayson Perry with his pornographic ceramic pots, Tracey Emin's unmade bed, Damien Hirst's pickled animals or Mark Wallinger's State Britain, which recreated Brian Haw's Parliament Square protest inside the galleries of Tate Britain (2007). Whether or not you agreed with what was being presented in this bastion of British art the Turner Prize represented a front line, challenged notions of what we consider art is and raised contemporary arts profile to a wider audience.

The Independent ran a piece 'What's the point of the Turner Prize?' in 2007 – the answer they gave was:

"The Turner is designed as an instrument of publicity – for the Tate, for contemporary art, and for the sponsor. In short, the Turner is about the media, without whose coverage it would cease to exist. It is the media that have made it "one of the most important and prestigious awards for visual arts in Europe". Perhaps only the British media – philistine, controversy-hungry, and much berated by arty types for being so – could have had this effect."

duncan-campbell-turner A Still of Duncan Campbell's It Was Others (2014)

No more can it really be classed in these terms. In the last five years the Turner Prize has been dull, with little to talk about, few inspired works of art, and minimal media coverage. Can you name any of the last five winners or even last years champion? (The answer is Duncan Campbell just in case you do not remember). The Independent named the 2014 prize 'Frustratingly Timid', three of the four nominees used film and many described it as underwhelming. Does this reflect the nature of the prize or the state of contemporary British art in the last few years?

Possibly both, however, the prize itself now oscillates around the British Isles, no longer centred around London's thriving artistic community and one of the worlds few global art centres. It could also be argued that it has been diminished since Nicholas Serota stepped down as chair of the judging panel.

So what about this year's shortlist announced a few days ago? It is dramatically different from the glitz years of the YBA's of the nineties and the director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis, who chaired the judging panel stated that shortlist of artists had become more serious and were not easy – 'It has lost some of its sensational aspects' she said, 'these artists are posing questions that are hard for all of us.'

nicolewermersinfrastruktur Installation view of Nicole Wermers's Infrastruktur (2015)
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In the running are design collective Assemble who transformed and regenerated a run down Liverpool housing estate, German born Nicole Wermers nominated for Infrastrucktur a show which featured fur coats on designer modernist furniture as a comment on consumer culture, Janice Kerbel for 'The Invented Life', an operatic work based on a series of violent events occurring to one person and Bonnie Camplin is nominated for The Military Industrial Complex a work which recalls Sixties student protests, looking into normal society and madness. Can some of these nominees even be called artists? The nominees definitely fall into a slightly different category from previous years and their seems to have been a shift of focus this year towards the ideals of early 20th Century Modernism and social issues.

Perhaps The Turner Prize does not need to be sensational as it once was, the art world has changed - the public is much more art savvy and the shock of the new is less shocking. However this means artists need to be cleverer, more involving and thought provoking, but they still need to create a reaction to their work whether good or bad. I fear that the four nominees for this years prize might fail to transform their work into the galley space provided, the works could quite easily create little response or debate and ultimately in twelve months time will probably be utterly forgettable. I hope I am wrong, but maybe it's time to ditch the status quo and find another platform for contemporary art to take its place outside the constraints of the Tate.