Above image: Charlotte Prodger. Portrait, 2017. Photography © Emile Holba 2018
Filmed over the course of one year, Charlotte Prodger’s Turner Prize-winning film Bridgit is an intimate insight into the life of the 42-year old artist, a journey spanning the wild glens of the Scottish countryside and domestic banality that offers a vivid account on the formation of the self.
Last night the Glaswegian-based artist was awarded the Prize, which comes with a £25,000 fund, by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie after the jury spent over four hours debating the eventual winner. Speaking on her decision to shoot on an iPhone, the artist claimed it was the practical nature of the device that gave the film a sense of fluidity and flux, not just in terms of place but identity.
“Because of that ease of use and the way you can use it while you are going about the world. For me, everything is in there.” Director of Tate Britain and chair of the jury Alex Farquharson went on to say the work resembled the, “most profound use of a device as prosaic as the iPhone camera that we’ve seen in art to date”.
Bridgit is Prodger’s most autobiographical work to date, with narration from the artist and her closest friends that recounts early experiences coming out of Aberdeenshire in the 1990s, growing up queer and her confusion surrounding gender. It is a film of our time shot on the most ubiquitous of devices that not only taps into a dialogue concerning identity that requires urgent attention but reminds us all of the power we have in our pockets.
Indeed, this year’s shortlist was for the first time entirely dominated by film, with other artists including Naeem Mohaiemen, Luke Willis Thompson and Forensic Architecture. Now that such a strong precedent for the visual medium has been laid down, the implications not only for the Turner Prize, which travels to Margate next year, but for young artists in general, are reason to be excited about the future of British art.
The Turner Prize is on at Tate Britain until 6 January, open daily 10.00 – 18.00.