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French artist Laure Prouvost has been named the winner of the UK’s most prestigious arts award, the Turner Prize.
Prouvost’s work looks at our relationship with the past using the technology of the Instagram generation
A somewhat surprise winner in a strong shortlist which included the likes of Tino Seghal and David Shrigley, she was awarded the prize for her work, ‘Wantee’.
The piece was commissioned for this year’s Schwitters in Britain exhibition at Tate Britain.
Judges deemed it “outstanding for its complex and courageous combination of images and objects in a deeply atmospheric environment.”
The film, Wantee, was played in a tea party setting and explored a fictional relationship between Prouvost’s grandfather and artist Karl Schwitters.
Wantee takes its name from Schwitters partner, Edith Thomas, who would continuously ask “want tea?” so earned the nickname Wantee.
Prouvost used this as a starting point, and played with reality, interweaving a fictitious story about her own grandfather.
Lasting around 30 minutes, the installation accommodates 15 to 20 people.
Prouvost made an emotional speech as her baby daughter Celeste was brought on stage. She said: “I’m not ready, I wasn’t expecting it at all – I was sure it was not me.”
Based in London for many years, the artist showed her thanks for being accepted into the art scene – “Thank you for adopting me, thank you for having a French one here.
“Half of me feels British, I’ve been here half my life. My boyfriend is half British and my daughter is both. I feel adopted. It was really this country that let me grow.”
She was awarded the £25,000 prize by the actor Saoirse Ronan at a ceremony in Derry, Northern Ireland.