Nick Hackworth

Ten artists in the frame for £65,000 prize fund

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

The shortlist for Beck’s Futures, the richest art awards in Britain, was announced today.

In stark contrast to the Turner Prize, awarded to Martin Creed for an empty room in which the lights go on and off, most of the work contending for the £65,000 of Beck’s prize money can be hung on your wall, or at least attached to it.

The shortlist includes four painters, three film and video artists, one photographer, one sculptor and one artist working in multimedia.

Philip Dodd, director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, believes “all the artists shortlisted have a direct interest in what it’s like to be alive here and now”.

Up for the prize, subtitled Tomorrow’s Talent Today, are the youngest artist ever shortlisted, Nick Relph, aged 22, and the oldest, Tom Wood, 51. Relph’s partner, Oliver Payne has been shortlisted alongside him. The pair specialise in films that take sardonic swipes at urban and suburban life.

Wood, an Irishman living in Liverpool, had taken photographs for 25 years before being “discovered”. His simple, compelling and often beautiful photographs focus on everyday life, from scenes of debauchery in Liverpool night clubs to shots of girls and grannies on buses.

After a year in which, for the first time ever, the Turner Prize nominees did not include a painter, the presence of so many in the Beck’s shortlist is a consolation. Those, however, who like their paintings elegant and understated may not be so happy.

Bold images culled from contemporary culture and glaring colours seems to be the order of the day in the work of Kirsten Glass, Neil Rumming and Dan Perfect, in whose works cartoon figures float in fields of horizontal stripes of colour.

The winner will be announced on 23 April 2002 at the ICA where the works will be on display from 29 March to 5 May. Each of the 10 shortlisted artists will receive £4,000 and the winner a further £20,000. Selected student filmmakers will share £5,000.