THE shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize has been announced. Four artists – Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Sin Wai Kin – are in the running for the most prestigious prize in contemporary art in the UK, one which is open to artists born, living or working in the UK.

What can we expect this year then?

Lots of fruit, contemporary drag, explorations of race, sexuality and identity and a giant sculpture of whipped cream with a cherry and a drone on top.

I think this requires some explanation.

OK. Well, the whipped cream is Heather Phillipson’s THE END, currently on display on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in London. Sin Wai Kin, who identifies as non-binary, combines music, poetry and contemporary drag in their work. Ingrid Pollard is a black British artist who uses photography and mixed media to explore issues of identity and the Monserrat-born sculptor Veronica Ryan often finds inspiration in natural forms.

No Scots on the list this year?

No, but Scottish artists, as well as artists who studied at the Glasgow School of Art, have featured heavily down the years. Martin Boyce, Douglas Gordon and Susan Philipsz have all won the prize in years past and last year’s winners, Array Collective, although based in Belfast, included two GSA graduates Sighle Bhreathnach-Cashell and Thomas Wells in their number.

Any controversy expected?

Give it time. There usually is. Someone will already be scribbling a column asking, “is this art?” even as we speak. As for the artists, it’s worth remembering that the glory days of the YBAs in the 1990s are long past, so drunken excess is rarely the order of the day anymore. These days Tracey Emin is a Royal Academician after all. (Oh, and she’s got a show opening at Jupiter Artland, near Edinburgh, next month.)

Where can we see the work of this year’s artists?

This year’s Turner Prize exhibition, which will open in October, will be held at Tate Liverpool (the first time it’s been there for 15 years). Of course, if you’re in London any time soon, you can see THE END in Trafalgar Square. And even if you’re not, the drone on the top of the sculpture has a camera in it that offers a live feed you can view online.


And when will we know who has won?

The winner will be announced at the end of the year. They will receive a prize of £25,000, while the other nominated artists will each receive £10,000.