Michael Dean has become the 25th Goldsmiths, University of London graduate or staff member to reach the Turner Prize shortlist in the past 25 years.
The Newcastle-born artist arrived at Goldsmiths in 1998 and graduated with a BA Fine Art (Studio Practice and Contemporary Critical Theory) in 2001. Dean recently told the Evening Standard that when he applied to Goldsmiths he “turned up with a sports holdall full of handwritten notes”.
He recalls: “That course meant I could actually go there and I didn’t have to pretend to be a painter. I didn’t have to take any charcoal sketches, like you would have to at other art colleges. They could see what I was doing for what it was and that was the open door.”
Goldsmiths can claim 25 Turner Prize shortlisted artists, starting with Ian Davenport and Fiona Rae in 1991. Seven previous winners, including Grenville Davey, Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst are Goldsmiths alumni. In 2015, two Goldsmiths tutors – Bonnie Camplin and Janice Kerbel – were nominated.
Dean has reached the shortlist alongside Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten and Josephine Pryde for his solo exhibitions Sic Glyphs at South London Gallery and Qualities of Violence at de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam.
In a four-star review, the magazine Time Out described Sic Glyphs as “dense with meaning, layered with allusion. It’s intensely clever and intensely visual. It makes you feel alive”.
Working primarily in sculpture, Dean creates work that is concerned with the physical manifestation of language. His vigorous sculptures and installations reference the everyday urban environment and familiar but aesthetically overlooked materials – from a rebar on a building site to the corrugated metal of a shop shutter – updating the influential legacies of art after minimalism in the late 60s.
The Turner Prize award is £40,000 with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists. The Prize, established in 1984, is awarded to a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 28 April 2016.
One of the best known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Every other year, the prize leaves Tate Britain and is presented at a venue outside the capital.
An exhibition of work by the four artists shortlisted for Turner Prize 2016 will be at Tate Britain from 27 September 2016 until 8 January 2017. Turner Prize 2017 will be presented at Ferens Art Gallery in Hull as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations.
The members of the Turner Prize 2016 jury are Michelle Cotton, Director, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn; Tamsin Dillon, Curator; Beatrix Ruf, Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Simon Wallis, Director, The Hepworth Wakefield. The jury is chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain.