Favorite Mark Leckey wins UK's Turner art prize

Mon Dec 1, 2008 3:44pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Bookmakers' Favorite Mark Leckey won the Turner Prize on Monday, beating three other shortlisted artists who were all women to claim one of the art world's most prestigious and contentious awards.

The 44-year-old Briton is best known for his film work, and according to a video presentation accompanying his Turner Prize installation he draws inspiration from popular sources like sci-fi movie "Blade Runner" and cartoon character Felix the Cat.

He also explores contemporary visual culture with a film of Jeff Koons's polished steel "Rabbit," and his art lecture "Cinema-in-the-Round" is screened in a reconstructed movie theater at London's Tate Britain museum.

"Everything in here is about having something, it's about things that you desire and I desire and my trying to work out my relationship with them," Leckey told reporters surrounded by his works. "They manufacture my desires and I want to know why."

Leckey receives a check for 25,000 pounds ($37,000) and his profile in the contemporary art world is likely to rise as a result of the award and the publicity it generates.

"I can increase my scope. I want to make a television series. Now hopefully...maybe that can happen," Leckey said.

"I'm going to squirrel away for these hard times, be sensible. This is good for me because it means I don't have to worry about selling stuff."

Only three women have won the annual prize since it began in 1984, and expectations were high that a fourth would be crowned at an awards ceremony on Monday evening, since Leckey was the only man on the shortlist.   Continued...

<p>British artist Mark Leckey gestures with a glass of wine in his hand before a photo opportunity after winning the 2008 Turner Prize at the Tate Britain in London December 1, 2008. REUTERS/Andrew Winning</p>