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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 23:44 GMT
Profile: Artist Mark Wallinger
Mark Wallinger
Mark Wallinger has represented Britain at the Venice Biennale
Mark Wallinger, winner of 2007's Turner Prize, first made the shortlist for the coveted award in 1995, but lost out to Damien Hirst.

After losing with a work that involved him naming a racehorse A Real Work of Art, he said it had been "an extremely painful experience".

Some 12 years later, the 48-year-old conceptual artist has now scooped the prize of 25,000 for his piece paying homage to peace protester Brian Haw's one-man long-running demonstration in Parliament Square, featuring banners, placards and messages.

The judges said his work "evokes a heightened sense of reality that communicates an unpalatable political truth".

But for the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Liverpool, Wallinger chose rather different themes, described by the Tate as "identity and representation". He spent 10 nights alone in a Berlin gallery dressed as a bear to make the resulting film, Sleeper.

Social commentary

Born in 1959 in Chigwell, Essex, Wallinger went on to study at Loughton College, Chelsea School of Art, and Goldsmiths College.

Despite taking part in the Royal Academy's Sensation show in 1997 and his early sales to collector Charles Saatchi, he chose to set himself apart from the Young British Artists, which included Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

Anti-war exhibition at the Tate Britain
State Britain is an exact replica of Brian Haw 's one-man protest

His early work was noted for its social commentary and in the early 1990s he began using his personal love of horse racing to explore issues of ownership and pedigree.

But it was his life-size statue of Christ, crowned with barbed-wire thorns and which occupied the vacant Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square in 1999, which brought him to the wider public's attention.

The piece, entitled Ecce Homo, attracted thousands of letters of praise and criticism.

Wallinger went on to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

Protest removed

But it was his recreation of Brian Haw's protest which finally won him the Turner Prize.

State Britain, which ran along the full length of the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain, consisted of a reconstruction of more than 600 weather-beaten banners, photographs and peace flags.

Every detail was copied, from Haw's tarpaulin shelter and tea-making area to the messages of support and hand-painted placards.

Haw had begun his protest against economic sanctions in Iraq in June 2001.

But in May last year, following the passing by Parliament of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which prohibits unauthorised demonstrations within a 1km (0.6 mile) radius of Parliament Square, most of his banners and placards were seized by police.

Clip of Mark Wallinger's film 'Sleeper'

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