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Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 11:44 GMT
Turner Prize: Press views
Isaac Julien's Vagabondia
The Turner Prize 2001 is courting the usual controversy
The Turner Prize exhibition has opened at Tate Britain with four artists - Mike Nelson, Isaac Julien, Richard Billiangham and Martin Creed - vying for the award. BBC News Online collates press reviews of the nominations.

The Independent

Mike Nelson's work typically takes you on a story through a sequence of fabricated rooms and corridors, spaces that are always poor, messy and dilapidated, and which feel almost real, as if you had actually wandered into some deserted minicab office or motel lobby. They usually contain some odd note - a weird object or furnishing - to imply strange, absent lives. Or that's what people say.

But it's never really worked for me - partly because I think: why go to an art venue to see a pretend cruddy place when I have plenty of real cruddy places in my life?; partly because the strangenesses (eg "sinister" masks) seems too formulaic; but mainly because, though Nelson has a keen eye for authentic detail, the almost-reality effect never actually happens.

The Guardian

For me, the prize is between Billingham and Julien. Julien has struggled for years with the conflicts between making art and wanting to make movies, between theories and pleasure in the visual. Billingham is perhaps similarly conflicted, but about future content rather than the form of his work. With a little regret, I believe he should win.

The Daily Telegraph

If the Turner Prize were a series of film sequels, this year's instalment would be subtitled "The Final Decadence". The trouble with the shortlist is that the judges were too sophisticated by half, deliberately choosing the difficult, the passť and the unknown, while overlooking artists who had genuinely appealed to public taste. And so, no Mark Wallinger, no Michael Landy, and no Gary Hume - to say nothing of lesser-known artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Darren Almond, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, David Shrigley and Christine Borland. If this year's show of shortlisted artists at Tate Britain is curiously dull, that does not reflect the state of British art in 2001.

The Times

Nothing as inflammatory as Tracey Emin's soiled and crumpled bed, or Damien Hirst's sliced-up cow and calf, is included in the 2001 Turner Prize show at Tate Britain. But we would be wrong to conclude that the shortlisted contenders are dull. The ability to shock is no guarantee of quality, and this year's Turner artists know how to sustain our interest. At a time when so many women are making impressive work, I find the Turner jury's exclusive emphasis on men both surprising and stifling. But all four of them deserve serious attention, and manage to flout our expectations in quiet, yet subversive ways.

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