Prepare for the annual outburst of reactionary voices. This year they will have a harder time, for two of the contenders, a sculptor and a painter, are -gasp] - strongly figurative. But Willie Doherty's use of the camera in his subversion of steroetypical Derry's 'troubles' will provide some ammunition.
Perhaps the most surprising inclusion is the painter Peter Doig, self-professed 'people's choice', whose misty interiors and landscapes walk the tightrope of kitsch but emerge unscathed, with an everydayness which proves effectively disquieting.
Doig provides the Romantic interest, balanced by the asceticism of the sculptor Shirazeh Houshiary, whose unpolished metal sculptures hide a disturbing, red-lit, visceral interior world. The detachment she maintains is diametrically opposed to the increasing personal involvement of Gormley, who has been nominated chiefly for for his large work 'Field'. Gormley's enduring commitment to his theme and his consistently lucid polemic must make him a strong contender for the award.
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