Simon Wilson, curator of interpretation at the Tate Gallery, puts the case for three of this year's Turner Prize shortlist and Brian Sewell, art critic for the 'Evening Standard', argues against

Damien Hirst's

Away From The Flock

The case for: "It works at lots of different levels. The first level to think about is that it's an image of a sheep - not painted, or sculpted, but presented as art so what you have there is a new way of bringing reality into the art gallery. Many people's reaction is: 'So what, it's just a dead sheep in a tank.' But it's not any old sheep. It's actually a lamb in a particular pose. It looks frightened: it's got its head tilted back and its ears are laid flat. It looks incredibly cute at first, but it's in a tank similar to those used in laboratories. Hirst's work is partly a comment on the way we study the natural world by killing and preserving it. The title also has sinister connotations: this lamb has strayed from the flock and bam, it's dead. It suggests notions of sin and Christ as the good shepherd."

The case against: "I don't think of it as art. I don't think pickling something and putting it into a glass case makes it a work of art. You might as well try it with a tea-cosy or milk bottle. It is no more interesting than a stuffed pike over a pub door. Indeed there may well be more art in a stuffed pike than a dead sheep. I really cannot accept the idiocy that 'the thing is the thing is the thing', which is really the best argument they can produce. It's contemptible."

Mona Hatoum's

Corps Etranger

The case for: "Mona Hatoum's work is about finding new ways of dealing with reality in art. In Corps Etranger she's using video and modern medical technology to present reality in a new way. The work consists of a minimalist piece of architecture with two narrow entrances opposite each other. In the middle there is a circular image on the floor showing what at first one sees as a beautiful pattern of colours. Then you realise it's the inside of a human body. At the same time you're hearing these extraordinary sounds, of blood rushing through veins and air whistling in and out of lungs. It reveals the inside of the body, whereas mostly art has concentrated until now on the outside. It also has a social agenda to do with the way the female body is viewed. For men, it can be a prurient or threatening experience. When the endoscope plunges into the orifices, one feels drawn in as well."

The case against: "I think stuffing medical instruments up your backside and fanny and down your throat, then taking photographs and saying this is art is a manifest absurdity, and the Tate ought to be thoroughly ashamed of itself. I would like an articulate defence of that as a work of art from Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, himself. I don't want to hear from any of his minions. If he's going to stuff that new building on the South Bank [the proposed Bankside Tate] with that kind of thing, then the project should be stopped at once."

Mark Wallinger's

A Real Work of Art

The case for: "This is to do with a similar issue: the relationship between art and reality. Mark Wallinger is fascinated by the idea of creating a work of art which is no different from the reality it represents. A great deal of his work is about horse racing because he sees that world as an amazing microcosm of British society, with class, money and power writ large. It also raises the issue of bloodlines and breeding seen in both racehorses and the English class system."

The case against: "That's just absurd. If anything is a real work of art, it's the wild fox I saw in the street this morning. That was beautiful. That gave a lift to my spirit such as I've not had in donkey's years. These people are encouraged by the Serotas of this world to believe they are artists. Somebody should slap them down. There's quite clearly a conspiracy. I don't mean that in a sinister sense, but there's no doubt that all major exhibition spaces in London are in unison over this and most art critics are on the bandwagon."

Interviews by

Marianne Macdonald

News
people And here is why...
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all failed
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA Level 3 required in Caerphilly

£50 - £60 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: O...

Welsh Year 6 Teacher required in Barry

£100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Welsh Teacher Year 2 required in Caerphilly

£100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?