Turner Prize: Is Laure Prouvost's 'oddball' work worthy winner?

Laure Prouvost

French artist 'rank outsider' to win UK's top art prize, but work makes viewer 'think, feel and laugh'

LAST UPDATED AT 12:21 ON Tue 3 Dec 2013

THE decision to award the Turner Prize to French artist Laure Prouvost proves that the UK's top art prize can "still be unpredictable", writes the BBC's Will Gompertz.

Prouvost, 35, was considered a rank outsider in a "two-horse race between Tino Sehgal and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye", Gompertz writes. But UK-based Prouvost beat the three better-known artists shortlisted for the £25,000 prize with an installation entitled Wantee that was described by judges as "unexpectedly moving".

The focal point of Wantee is a film which is screened in a room styled like a tea party. The film explores the "lasting legacy of artist Kurt Schwitters through Prouvost's fictional grandfather, who she had imagined to be a conceptual artist and one of Schwitters's close friends".

The film is called Wantee in honour of the imagined grandfather, who has a habit of asking "Want tea?".

The Guardian agrees that Prouvost - "a French artist who examines our relationship with the past using the technology of the Instagram generation" - was the "surprise winner" of the Turner prize. The paper adds that the artist herself was "clearly taken aback" when her name was read out at the award ceremony in Derry, Northern Ireland.

Prouvost has had a busy year, the Guardian says. She installed her Turner Prize-winning show in Derry just five weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, Celeste.

In her acceptance speech the French artist hailed England, her adopted home, as a place where "people are curious". Prouvost, who originally studied at Goldsmiths College in London, lives and works in east London with her partner, Nick Aikens, a curator.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mark Hudson says Prouvost was his choice to win the prize. Why? Because Wantee "was the only work that went out to the viewer with human content you could think, feel and - on frequent occasion - laugh about, though it was oddball to a fault". · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.