December 2, 2013 8:30 pm

French-born installation artist Laure Prouvost wins Turner Prize

Turner Prize©PA

Laure Prouvost's Wantee, the 2013 Turner Prize winner

Laure Prouvost has been named as the winner of the 2013 Turner Prize for works of art that the judging panel praised as “complex and courageous”.

French-born Ms Prouvost won the £25,000 contemporary art prize for two works: Wantee, an installation about a fictional relationship between her grandfather and the exiled German artist Kurt Schwitters; and Farfromwords, an installation at the Whitechapel Gallery incorporating video, sculpture, text and images.

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The Turner judging panel, which described the work as “outstanding”, said: “Her unique approach to filmmaking, often situated within atmospheric installations, employs strong storytelling, quick cuts, montage and deliberate misuse of language to create surprising and unpredictable work.”

The 35-year-old London-based artist was handed the prize by the Irish actress Saoirse Ronan on Monday night at Ebrington in Londonderry.

Upon receiving the award, Ms Prouvost said: “Thank you for adopting me, for having a French one. I feel adopted by the UK.”

The three runners-up, Tino Sehgal, David Shrigley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, will receive £5,000 each.

The city, also known as Derry, hosted the award as part of its role as UK City of Culture, a year-long series of cultural events that it hopes will help it shrug off its historical image as a backdrop for sectarian violence. It was the first time the Turner Prize had been presented outside England.

The award is given to a British artist aged under 50 for work shown in the past year. The judging panel, chaired by Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain, was Annie Fletcher, head of exhibitions at Eindhoven’s Van Abbemuseum; Susanne Gaensheimer, director of Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Art; Declan Long, writer and lecturer at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin; and Ralph Rugoff, director of London’s Hayward Gallery.

Ms Prouvost, who studied at Goldsmiths college and Central St Martins in London, created Wantee after being asked by Tate Britain and Cumbria’s Grizedale Arts to consider the period that Schwitters spent in the Lake District after his exile from Nazi Germany. She built a muddy cabin and filled it with art created by a fictional version of her grandfather, an artist friend of Schwitters.

The judges said they found the installation “unexpectedly moving, developing far beyond its original association with the Schwitters exhibition”.

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