Favorite Martin Boyce scoops UK's Turner Prize

Mon Dec 5, 2011 3:27pm EST
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By Alice Baghdjian

GATESHEAD, England (Reuters) - Bookmakers' favorite Martin Boyce on Monday won the Turner Prize, one of the art world's most prestigious and controversial awards.

The 44-year-old claimed the 25,000 pound ($40,000) prize for his distinctive sculptural installations, which seek to create an urban landscape within the confines of the gallery space.

Brown paper "leaves" are strewn across the floor of his exhibition at the BALTIC gallery in Gateshead, northern England, which hosted the awards -- only the second time they have been held outside London.

A trashcan-like structure fitted with a fabric liner and small, rectangular grills attached to the wall at ankle-height produces the atmosphere of a city park.

"Boyce ... has steadily shown himself to be strong through his work seen internationally and in a number of big shows," Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries which run the annual award, told Reuters ahead of the ceremony.

It is the second year running that a Scottish artist has won the Turner Prize after Susan Philipsz claimed the 2010 award for her sound installation.

The winning choice this year was more restrained than it has been in the past, with the Turner Prize famous for sparking fierce debate about what constitutes art.

Damien Hirst was presented with the prize in 1995 for a pickled cow, and in 2001 an empty room with a light that switched on and off clinched the prize for Martin Creed.   Continued...