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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 07:23 GMT
Bush video wins Turner Prize
Jeremy Deller at Turner Prize ceremony
Jeremy Deller uses a wide range of methods, including social events
British artist Jeremy Deller has won this year's prestigious Turner Prize for a film about US President George Bush's home town in Texas.

Deller, best-known for orchestrating social events, scooped the 25,000 modern art award in London on Monday.

He won for Memory Bucket, a documentary exploring Crawford, Texas, and the Branch Davidian siege in nearby Waco.

Video art dominated the 2004 shortlist, with Kutlug Ataman, Langlands & Bell and Yinka Shonibare also nominated.

Accepting the award, Deller dedicated it to "everyone who cycles in London, everyone who looks after wildlife and bats, the Quaker movement and everyone I've worked with".

A Jeremy Deller mural linked acid house music with brass bands
A Jeremy Deller mural linked acid house music with brass bands
He said the award process was "a not unenjoyable experience" and it was "a strange event".

Deller is also known for recreating The Battle of Orgreave, one of the most violent clashes of the 1980s miners' strike, using veteran miners and historical re-enactment societies.

Deller's work includes a giant piece of graffiti that connects a selection of words to demonstrate how "acid house" is linked to "brass bands".

He enlisted brass bands to cover acid house songs and organised a parade in San Sebastian, Spain, to celebrate its diversity.

His Social Parade video follows low-profile social groups in the city while Five Memorials is a photographic tribute to striking miners, immigrants and a cyclist killed by a drunk driver.

Introducing the award, Turner chairman and Tate gallery director Sir Nicholas Serota attacked the UK media for taking delight in a warehouse fire that destroyed many works of modern art earlier this year.

Kutlug Ataman's 12
Kutlug Ataman's 12 features six stories of reincarnation
"The response of some sections of the press, who saw this as a moment of catharsis or even celebration, was in some ways reminiscent of the response to the book burnings in Nazi Germany in the 1930s," he said.

His comment was met with muted applause at the ceremony at Tate Britain.

He continued: "And it tells us just how far behind the British public lags the British press, or at least some sections of the British press."

Public interest in the Turner Prize had "never been higher", he added.

The jury said they wanted to stress the strength of the shortlist and said all four nominees produced "outstanding presentations".

'Political change'

Sir Nicholas said: "We live in a moment of big political change. The judges felt that Deller's work reflects that.

"He orchestrates creativity out of other people rather than necessarily himself."

Last year's winner, Grayson Perry, said of Deller: "He's the most creative artist of all the nominees. Nobody was surprised he won."

A previous nominee Tracey Emin said: "Deller's work is very nice. I liked them all."

Among the other nominees, Turkish-born artist Kutlug Ataman exhibited video interviews of people who believed they were reincarnated.

Yinka Shonibare, who was born in London but grew up in Nigeria, uses multicoloured batik fabric to blend cultural references and his work including a 3D headless version of French artist Fragonard's The Swing.

Bin Laden video

His film Un Ballo in Maschera re-enacts the 1792 assassination of Swedish king Gustav III through dance in similarly colourful fashion.

Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell, who visited Afghanistan in 2002, recreated Osama Bin Laden's house as a video game and made an installation based on the logos of non-governmental organisations in the country.

They also filmed an alleged Afghan warlord who was put on trial at the High Court in London.

It could not be exhibited for legal reasons and they replaced the piece with a stark black and white notice explaining its removal.

The prize is open to any artist under the age of 50 who is either working in the UK or is British and working abroad. The runners-up receive 5,000 each.

Publicity boost

In the past, the Turner Prize has courted controversy with winners including Gilbert and George, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst.

Last year's winner, potter Grayson Perry, said the prize had given him 10 years worth of opportunities in one year.

"It gives you a good leg up in terms of publicity but I don't know if that transforms into posterity."

A new poll of 258 contemporary British artists found that more than half felt the Turner Prize gave contemporary art a bad name.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
British artist scoops modern art award



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