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Introducing Winner of the Turner Prize 2023, Jesse Darling

As the news sinks in for the Berlin based sculpture, installation, video, drawing, sound, text and performance artist, we take a look at the installation that saw Darling win the prestigious art prize and the work that got him there.

Jesse Darling at Turner Prize 2023, Towner Eastbourne. Photo: Victor Frankowski, Hello Content.

**Updated 7 December 2023**

Jesse Darling was announced winner of the £25,000 art prize on Tuesday 6 December by musician, creative and broadcaster, Tinie Tempah at the televised ceremony in Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens. 

His work was inspired by ‘the effects of many years of austerity, Brexit, the pandemic’ and the ‘hostile’ immigration policy, portrayed through playfully contorted crowd control barriers, barbed wire checkpoints and a maypole braided with police tape.

Read on below to learn more about Jesse’s journey to becoming this year’s winner of Britain’s most prestigious art prize.

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Born in 1981 in Oxford, Jesse Darling graduated with a BA from Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in 2010, and completed an MFA at Slade School of Fine Art in 2014. Since first exhibiting in 2009, Darling’s work has been concerned with themes of power structures and the vulnerability of the human body. 

‘No Medals, No Ribbons’ at Modern Art Oxford.

Darling has a poetic ability to manipulate everyday objects into contorted forms representative of the human body and the human experience. In the artist’s visionary oeuvre, disposed rollercoaster tracks become sculptural works that express the messy reality of life. The Turner Prize jury were particularly impressed by this in their selection of the artist’s 2022 solo exhibition ‘No Medals, No Ribbons’, at Modern Art Oxford. 

‘No Medals, No Ribbons’ showcased influential works by the artist from the last 10 years, arranging for the first time new and existing work into thematic groups. Installation, drawing, text, and sculpture featured in the exhibition, through which Darling worked to expose how the systems of power – government, religion, ideology, technology and empire – can be as fragile and precarious as mortal bodies. 

‘Enclosures’ at Camden Art Centre, London.
‘Enclosures’ at Camden Art Centre, London.

Darling was selected by the jury for two exhibitions, the second was ‘Enclosures’ at Camden Art Centre. As the fourth recipient of the Camden Arts Centre Freelands Lomax Fellowship, the artist carried out research over a two year residency which culminated in the aforementioned exhibition.

Designed to coincide with ‘No Medals, No Ribbons’, this major commission addressed fallibility, adaptability and vulnerability of living beings, society and technologies. Darling explored the histories of extraction and exhumation, and considered clay as a material formed from the architectural, ancestral, cultural, and corporeal bodies of our material world.

The exhibition of all four shortlisted artists’ work is on display at Towner Eastbourne until 14 April 2024. Free admission.

King & McGaw are proud sponsors of the Turner Prize 2023 at Towner Eastbourne

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