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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 12:11 GMT
German painter wins Turner Prize
Tomma Abts

German-born artist Tomma Abts has become the first woman painter to win the 25,000 Turner Prize since it was founded 22 years ago.

Abts, who has lived in London for 12 years, beat video artist Phil Collins, poster artist Mark Titchner and sculptor Rebecca Warren.

The judges said the 38-year-old had produced "compelling images that reveal their complexity slowly over time".

Artist Yoko Ono presented the 25,000 prize at London's Tate Britain.

Abts, whose paintings always measure 48 x 38 cm (19 x 15 in), said it was "a real honour" to receive the prize.

Abts paintings
Abts begins her paintings with no notion of the end result
"I just started on that size a few years ago and it felt right for what I was doing. Ever since then I've been working in that size and it just feels right," she said.

She said she did not know what she would do with the prize money, adding: "I think it's nice but every artist in the prize deserved to win."

Abts starts work with no idea what she will create and allows the canvas to evolve as she paints.

"It's not that I am only interested in painting, I'm interested in all kinds of art, so I'm not a painter's painter forever," she told the BBC.

"I like any other art. I don't feel I'm representing all the painters here. I'm (just) an artist."

Judges included Tate galleries chairman Sir Nicholas Serota and newspaper writer Lynn Barber.

Live exhibit

This year's Turner show included the first "live" exhibit in its history, with Phil Collins setting up an office which houses staff from his TV production company.

Phil Collins exhibit
Phil Collins' exhibit features a working office of TV researchers
Collins' work also features a film of Turkish people discussing how their lives have been ruined by appearing on reality TV.

Sculptor Rebecca Warren's exhibits include displays of found objects, including bits of fluff, twigs, and a discarded cherry stone.

Mark Titchner's entry features a computer-designed billboard with the slogan, "Tiny Masters Of The World Come Out".

Star artists

The Turner Prize, which began in 1984, is given to a British-based artist aged under 50 "for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work".

The prize made a star out of Damien Hirst, who won in 1995, as well as Tracey Emin who was nominated in 1999.

Work by this year's four nominated artists has been on display at the London gallery since October.

Last year's winner was Simon Starling, who dismantled a shed, made it into a boat, then turned it back into a shed again.


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