The shortlist will be announced tomorrow by Nicholas Serota, chairman of the judges and director of the Tate Gallery. It is understood that the artists Gillian Wearing, Cornelia Parker, Angela Bulloch and Christine Borland, conceptualists to a woman, are on the shortlist.
Mr Serota is sure to be accused of an act of overt political correctness. Last year the Turner Prize shortlist comprised only men. There was a considerable backlash from female artists, critics and feminist groups which stung the judges, who had always regarded themselves as being in the forefront of progressive cultural thought.
The judges will have to explain how it is they could not find a single female artist to put on the list 12 months ago, whereas now there are four who tower above their male colleagues. The ensuing controversy is likely to overshadow the fact that there is not a single painter on the list.
Gillian Wearing is a video, or "documentarist" artist. For one work, she put an ad in Loot asking for people to confess to things. Their often smutty confessions were then filmed by her with the confessors wearing grotesque joke shop masks.
Cornelia Parker exhibited the actress Tilda Swinton in a glass case. She also recently exhibited gramophone records in which cocaine had been smuggled.
Angela Bulloch last year had a contraption called Mud Slinger on show at the Henry Moore Studio in Halifax. It did as its name promised over the white walls of the gallery.
Christine Borland is a sculptor whose recent exhibit From Life was described as "spooky, ethereal and spectral". It consisted of 21 glass panels. On each panel, Borland has placed a group of bones (hands, vertebrae etc), sprinkled them with dust and then removed them. A spotlight directed at the glass left a negative trace of the bones on the wall.
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