Tomma Abts, Turner Prize winner 2006


So here’s my definition of art. To me personally, art is a physical manifestation of a strong emotion or opinion. I like to think that an artist feels COMPELLED to express themselves, whether it be a painting of a beautiful view, or a political message sprayed on a wall. The artist wants to share it with us – it is an outward expression of something they feel inside. Well the winner of this year’s Turner Prize has rather pissed all over that. Here is a woman who starts with a piece of canvas 48cm x 38cm, surrounds herself with oils and acrylics, and then blatantly makes it up as she goes along. And guess what? I love it. Her paintings are superb. Not only it is nice to see a painter winning a major art competition (that hasn’t happened since Chris Offili painted with elephant crap eight years ago), but more importantly for me, it is instantly accessible. For the first time in ages here is a major piece of contemporary art that we can appreciate without having to read a lot of big words to “get it”. So I’d like to propose a toast – to the return of pretty paintings! And now I’m off to decide what the hell I think art is, all over again.

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