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Artist Jesse Darling wins the prestigious 2023 Turner Prize

Artist Jesse Darling is the latest recipient of the Turner Prize, the UK’s top award for artists that grants £25,000 ($31,500) annually. The announcement was made on Tuesday at an evening ceremony in Eastbourne, southeast England.

Darling is a 41-year-old Oxford-born, Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, video, drawing and performance; he also released a collection of poetry, “Virgins,” last year. His Turner Prize-winning exhibition is an installation that places viewers in a custom-built environment evoking chaotic city streets and industrial barriers.

Barbed wire frames the entryway to a gallery space where anthropromophized crowd-control fences stampede across the floor and climb the walls. Tattered patchwork Union Jack flags hang from bent and twisted poles and railroad tracks careen into a wall; unsettling props like crutches, dusty piles of ring binders and chunks of concrete are also placed throughout. The installation is made of both new and earlier works by the artist and “convey(s) a familiar yet delirious world,” according to a press release. “Invoking societal breakdown, his presentation unsettles perceived notions of labour, class, Britishness and power.”

Darling’s installation shows British society in disarray, exploring themes of power and exclusion. - Angus Mill
Darling’s installation shows British society in disarray, exploring themes of power and exclusion. - Angus Mill
Darling’s winning exhibition “convey(s) a familiar yet delirious world,” according to a press statement from the Turner Prize. - Angus Mill
Darling’s winning exhibition “convey(s) a familiar yet delirious world,” according to a press statement from the Turner Prize. - Angus Mill

Darling was nominated alongside fellow artists Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim and Barbara Walker, who all exhibited installations for the award. (All their work will remain on display at the Towner Eastbourne art gallery through April 14, 2024.)

The Turner Prize, named after the 19th-century painter JMW Turner, is awarded each year to an exemplary artist born or based in the UK, and based on a presentation of work exhibited in the past year. Darling was nominated for his solo exhibitions “No Medals, No Ribbons” at Modern Art Oxford and “Enclosures” at the Camden Art Centre.

Last year’s prize was awarded to sculptor Veronica Ryan, and past honorees have included Damien Hirst, Gillian Wearing, Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor, Wolfgang Tillmans and Steve McQueen. Next year, the prize will celebrate its 40th anniversary.

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