A whale's skull, a heap of dust made up of the remains of a jet engine and a workman's naked backside are among the artworks featuring in a display by this year's shortlisted Turner Prize artists.
Roger Hiorns, Enrico David, Lucy Skaer and Richard Wright are the artists in the running for the award, which is worth £25,000 to the prize winner and £5,000 for each of those shortlisted.
Among the exhibits at Tate Britain is a heap of metal dust from an atomised passenger jet engine by Hiorns.
Helen Little, assistant curator, said the engine had been melted down and sprayed through nozzles at high speed, to create fine granules.
She said his work was about "giving new life to objects. It's a test of faith in technology."
Asked if visitors might question why a heap of dust was on display in the Tate, Ms Little said the work was "strangely interesting and beautiful.
"It's quite evocative of a landscape."
Three wall sculptures made up of preserved bovine brain matter, plastic and steel were also among Hiorns's pieces on display, which Ms Little said "challenged" gallery-goers perceptions as they were viewing something which could once see and feel.
Hiorns's previous works also include transforming an abandoned south London flat into a cave filled with blue crystals.
Over the course of the year, Hiorns sealed a disused bedsit and filled it with 90,000 litres of liquid copper sulphate, which after a time encrusted each surface of the apartment with crystals.
This work was not on display in the London gallery.
David's exhibition includes a parade of bizarre toy-like characters, including papier mache "egg men" with feet which would enable them to rock back and forth, from his nominated exhibition How Do You Love Dzzzzt By Mammy?
David is presenting a new installation of paintings, collages and sculptures called Absuction Cardigan 2009.
His collection includes a huge slumping cloth doll and pictures of unclothed dolls and a workman in a fluorescent jacket, with his bare bottom on display.
Another painted figure dons a bulging pair of pants and bright orange hair.
Skaer's work includes Leviathan Edge 2009, the skull of a sperm whale, just visible from behind a screen partitioned with "peep holes".
Another of her works, Black Alphabet, 2008, is a series of 26 sculptures made from coal dust.
Wright's display, described by Tate as his "most complex and ambitious composition to date", includes a highly intricate gold-leaf pattern across one wall of the gallery.
The work took around three weeks to install and will be destroyed when the exhibition closes.
The prize has traditionally been won for controversial work.
Last year Mark Leckey won the prize, with an exhibition that included cartoon characters such as Homer Simpson.
Previous recipients include Gilbert and George, Damien Hirst and transvestite potter Grayson Perry.
When this year's shortlist was announced in April, Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian, who is also one of the judges, said: "I think it's going to be a classic Turner Prize, to remind people why it's such a great prize, and remind people why British art is so exciting."
Jones said the prize had previously been accused of rewarding something other than talent.
He said of the 2009 shortlist: "It shows there is a great deal of talent in contemporary art."
The Turner Prize 2009 exhibition opens to the public tomorrow and runs until 3 January 2010. The full admission price is £8.
This year's winner will be announced during a live Channel 4 broadcast on 7 December.
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