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Tuesday, 10 April, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
New faces await art prize
DJ Simpson's Untitled
DJ Simpson's Untitled - tipped by some to win
By BBC News Online's Olive Clancy

The winner of the UK's largest art prize, with a total prize fund of 65,000, is to be announced on Tuesday.

But do not be surprised if you do not recognise any of the artists on the shortlist - this is a prize for unknowns.

The selection includes five painters, three photographers, one sculptor and one artist working in multi-media - according to the judges they were deliberately chosen to reflect the "diversity" of British art.

"The 10 finalists all take a self-willed, unsensationalist artistic stance and draw on a variety of visual traditions," said chair of the judges panel Martijn Van Nieuwenhuyzen.

Shahin Afrassiabi's Poser
Teheran-born Shahin Afrassiabi's Poser
Click here to see the Beck's Futures shortlist in full.

All ten artists will receive 4,000 at the awards ceremony on 10 April.

The judges are artist Gary Hume, writer Zadie Smith, art curators Richard Flood, Katarina Gregos and arts sponsorship consultant Anthony Fawcett - chaired by curator Martijn Van Nieuwenhuyzen.

They choose from a vast list of candidates supplied by nearly 200 nominators, many of them fellow artists.

Maybe the most-talked about entrant - and focal since their film is displayed adjacent to the ICA's bar and restaurant - is the partnership of John Russell and Fabienne Audeoud.

The pair staged a "murder" at the launch of Beck's Futures. Painter Russell pulled a revolver on Audeuod, faked shooting her and videoed the event.

The work is a tribute to the late writer William Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, who shot his wife "for the hell of it".

The resulting video is not so real as to put you off your cocktails, which is possibly why the video, rather than the artists' other work - large canvases with gaping orifices - was chosen for the lobby.

Rival

DJ Simpson too gouges abstract patterns into formica-covered plywood.

David Burrows is a photographer of chaotic spaces, that are dribbled with paint and scattered with debris.

Gemma Iles, a 25 year old photographer who is still at art college, is the youngest in the show and takes striking portrait photographs.

Gemma Iles' May 2000
Iles "attempts to explore the artificiality of Hollywood" in her work
Brian Griffiths' contribution is a giant spooky sculpture of a horse and rider from household items, very similar to those he created for the Tim Burton film Nightmare at Sleepy Hollow.

Considering that the show is billed as "tomorrow's talent today", some of the entrants like Bill, Simpson and Griffiths have been around for some time.

Beck's Futures set out last year to be a rival for the Turner prize.

The idea was that it would sample emerging art and provide encouragement to the up-and-coming artists of the future.

Last year's winner was Glasgow artist Roddy Buchanan and the first shortlist was generally considered to be lively and provocative.

Not so this year.

Waldemar Januzczack called it a "heavyweight turkey" saying that it was "talent-free" and none of the artists involved deserve the winner's 24,000 prize.

Fabienne Audeoud and John Russell's What do you represent
Russell and Audeoud paint half the canvas each
Adrian Searle in The Guardian praised a couple of entrants but on the whole lamented "what happened to innovation?"

Bewildered

Charles Darwent called the work "dull mushy pap", while tipping DJ Simpson for the top prize.

Other critics have been kinder, while remarking that tomorrow's talent seems remarkably like today's.

Either way, criticism has never done an emerging artist any harm as evidenced by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and others.

In fact, in conjunction with the competition Emin has made a new short film.

It features her dressed in a peach wedding frock, pinned with money, wandering bewildered in what appears to be Mexico or at least the Wild West.

Emin looks a treat, but the artistic merits of the piece may be debatable.

It will be shown before all ICA films and ICA distributed films in the coming months.

Beck's says it has been associated with Emin for years and sees Beck's Futures 2 as a continuation of their encouragement of young artists "at a critical time in their careers."

Shahin Afrassiabi - installation artist

John Russell & Fabienne Audeoud - painters

Simon Bill - painter

David Burrows

Brian Griffiths - sculptor

Dan Holdsworth - photographer

Gemma Iles - photographer

DJ Simpson - painter

Tim Stoner - painter

Clare Woods - painter

Return to text

Beck's Futures 2 is at the ICA, London until 20 May. The show will then travel to Edinburgh, Liverpool, New York and Newcastle.

See also:

29 Mar 01 | Arts
London's artists on the move
28 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Turner Prize 2000: The shock of the old
14 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Art award under fire
23 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Shock art hits London
16 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Tracey makes a pile
25 Oct 99 | e-cyclopedia
Art attacks: Don't handle with care
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