A French artist who examines our relationship with the past using the technology of the Instagram generation has been named the surprise winner of the Turner prize.
Penelope Curtis, the Tate Britain director and chair of the judges, said the panel was drawn into Prouvost’s work “more deeply than they imagined they would be”. Judges were unexpectedly moved by work that “had a real richness of texture. It was both handmade and technologically current.”
Prouvost was shortlisted for a piece first shown as part of a Kurt Schwitters exhibition at Tate Britain. Prouvost was intrigued by the artist’s partner, Edith Thomas, nicknamed Wantee because of her habit of asking “want tea?”.
From that starting point, Prouvost wove in a fictional story about her grandfather – a close friend of Schwitters and also a conceptual artist – who she fashioned as bottom-obsessed. Prouvost often references her grandfather, who in her fictional world once decided to tunnel to Africa through the living room floor and never came back. The story is told in a film shown in a gloomy room that could be straight out of the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
For the Derry show Prouvost added a companion film about the dreams of her grandmother about riding a motorcycle and disco dancing that is viewed from a sloped, carpeted area.
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