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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Turner shortlist show unveiled
Tomoko Takahashi
Tomoko Takahashi's work fills an entire gallery with junk
A room full of junk designed to suggest the aftermath of an earthquake has been unveiled as the Turner Prize shortlist exhibition opens.

The work, Learning How To Drive by Japanese artist Tomoko Takahashi, features twisted steering wheels, bollards, traffic signs, discarded hubcaps and tyres.

Takahashi is one of four artists whose work, competing for the UK's premier art award, worth 20,000, goes on display at Tate Britain from Wednesday, in advance of next month's announcement of the winner.

Turner Prize 2000 shortlist
Michael Raedecker
Tomoko Takahashi
Wolfgang Tillmans
Glenn Brown
Two of the shortlisted artists are painters - Englishman Glenn Brown, and Dutch-born landscape painter Michael Raedecker - countering claims that the prize neglects traditional art forms such as painting.

Raedecker has already taken the lead as the bookies' favourite, with William Hill putting him at 13-8 to win the prize.

His work, a blend of paint and threads on canvas, gives added texture to landscapes making them look like aerial shots.

Controversy

The annual prize which seeks to reward challenging modern art has been condemned in recent years by critics as "an ongoing national joke".

Tomoko Takahashi
Tomoko Takahashi's exhibit is inspired by her recent 'rite of passage': learning to drive
The prize has a tradition of generating controversy.

Damien Hirst's sheep in formaldehyde won in 1995, Chris Ofili's cow-dung paintings took the prize in 1998 and Tracey Emin's unmade bed made last year's shortlist.

Tate spokesman Simon Wilson said: "The prize always generates controversy but it does bring together young artists who are doing fresh innovative work."

German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans is unlikely to find favour with traditionalists, with his graphic images of naked body parts.

With 57 works on display, his pictures include a wide range of subject matter. But some, which include shots of shaved genitalia, are likely to infuriate.

This year another issue may generate debate - only one artist on the shortlist is British-born. The prize is open to artists who live and work in Britain.

"London is one of the absolute art capitals of the world. It has the buzz. It is a compliment that artists live here," Wilson said.

Last year's exhibition helped to draw 140,000 people to the Tate Gallery at Millbank, central London.

Trauma

Tate Britain's communications curator Simon Wilson said Takahashi's work was in the tradition of "assemblage" art created in movements like Dada, surrealism and pop-art.

The artist, who even scoured the cellars of Tate Britain, and found enough material to fill an entire gallery, all assembled to suggest the trauma of taking a driving test.

"Installation art has a very long history - making art from everyday objects which you assemble and present until they take on new meanings," he said.

"It may look like a collection of junk but I think when you come in first of all it's kind of like a Santa's grotto, it's quite magical seeing all these things together," he added.

The exhibition runs from 25 October to 14 January, and the winner will be announced on 28 November.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
"Expectations are high again this year"
See also:

14 Jun 00 | UK
Turner shortlist unveiled
25 Oct 99 | e-cyclopedia
Art attacks: Don't handle with care
13 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Emin airs her dirty linen
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