Laure Prouvost is the 2013 Turner Prize Winner, Dec 2 2013

Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize has been awarded to French-born artist Laure Prouvost for her provocative work that begs the question: would you like some tea?


December 4, 2013
by Monica Karpinski
Laure Prouvost accepting the 2013 Turner Prize

Laure Prouvost accepting the 2013 Turner Prize

French installation artist Laure Prouvost’s emotional video piece Wantee has been awarded the 2013 Turner Prize.  Inspired by a search for her fictional grandfather, the work consists of a mock-up of a tea party that has been described as “outstanding and moving” by the Turner Prize judges. It was originally created for Wantee and Friends, an exhibition held at the Tate Britain in honour of Kurt Schwitters, and imagines a narrative in which Prouvost’s grandfather had known Schwitters himself.

The title, Wantee is taken from nickname that Schwitters’ gave to  his girlfriend who was perpetually asking if anyone “want tea?” The fictitious scene is itself introduced by the question: “Would you like some tea?”

Prouvost’s narrative sees her fictional grandfather being made to complete domestic tasks by his wife, delineating the internal struggles of an artist whose dreams have been subordinated to the pulls of reality.

“Thank you for adopting me, for having a French one,” Prouvost beamed upon accepting the award. “I feel adopted by the UK.”

Born in Lille, France, Prouvost attended Central Saint Martins and Goldsmiths, University of London, and was named “an exemplary artist” by programme director of fine art at Wimbledon College of the Arts, Lois Rowe.

Held for the first time outside of England, this year’s exhibition was shown in Derry, Northern Ireland which is the 2013 UK City of Culture. Prouvost was awarded £25,000 in prize money, selected from finalists Tino Sehgal, David Shrigley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye also vying for the award. The award was presented by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan.

The Turner Prize is annually awarded to a contemporary artist under 50 who lives, works or was born in Britain, and is considered to have produced the best exhibition of the last year. Past winners include Elizabeth Price in 2012, and Martin Boyce in 2011.