Helen Marten was announced the winner of the Turner Prize at Tate Britain last night (6 December) for her “poetic and enigmatic work” that reflects “the complexities and challenges of being in the world today”, the judges said.
Accepting the £25,000 award, which the 31-year-old artist said she would share with the other nominees, Marten warned against the “ever more precarious” political and social global climate. She referred to the stripping of arts from school syllabuses and “the ever prominence of alt-right groups gaining a very visible and frightening political platform for xenophobic, homophobic and racist outlooks on the world”.
Macclesfield-born Marten, who has previously said she finds winning prizes embarrassing, praised the “diversity and exuberance” of her fellow artists and the wider art community, which she described as “deeply, deeply privileged”. She also thanked the Tate for its “tolerant support” of her and the other Turner Prize candidates: Anthea Hamilton, Michael Dean and Josephine Pryde.
Marten won the Turner Prize, one of the best-known awards for the visual arts in the world, for projects including Lunar Nibs at the 56th Venice Biennale and her solo exhibition Eucalyptus Let Us In at Green Naftali, New York. The jury, which is chaired by the director of Tate Britain Alex Farquharson, commended Marten’s “extraordinary range of materials and form”. For her Turner Prize exhibition, Marten used materials and everyday objects including shoe soles, eggs, marbles and bicycle chains.
Marten's success comes just weeks after she was awarded the inaugural £30,000 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, which she said she would also share with the other shortlisted artists. Enjoying her moment in the sun, the artist's show at London's Serpentine Sackler Gallery closed at the end of last month. The Turner Prize exhibition continues at Tate Britain until 8 January 2017.