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Blur video director nominated for Turner Prize; The exhibition will be held at Ebrington
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Midnight, Cadiz 2013. Courtesy: Corvi-Mora, London and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Marcus Leith, London.

By: Robin Millard

LONDON (AFP).- A humorous cartoonist who directed a Blur pop video is up against an artist who orchestrates "live encounters", in the shortlist out Thursday for this year's Turner Prize -- one of the world's most controversial art awards.

The other two contenders are a French-born film-maker and a painter who has become the award's first black female nominee.

The annual modern art prize, organised by London's Tate Britain gallery, is one of Europe's most prestigious for the visual arts. It awards £25,000 ($38,500, 29,500 euros) to the winner and £5,000 to those shortlisted.

Cartoonist David Shrigley, known for his wickedly funny drawings, photographs and writing, was nominated for his "Brain Activity" exhibition, which organisers said showed off his "black humour, macabre intelligence and infinite jest".

The Scottish artist directed the video for "Good Song" by Brit pop legends Blur, while he has also collaborated with indie rockers Franz Ferdinand and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne.

Also nominated is French-born Laure Prouvost, whose recent films included a montage of images of the natural world which aimed to interpret the taste of the sun.

She "employs strong story-telling, quick cuts, montage and deliberate misuse of language to create surprising and unpredictable work," Tate Britain said.

Tino Sehgal, who last year filled the Tate Modern gallery's Turbine Hall with storytellers, is the first artist specialising in "encounter" installations to be shortlisted.

The British-German artist's works "test the limits of artistic material and audience perception in a new and significant way", the Tate said.

The shortlist is completed by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, who paints imagined figures and is the first black woman to figure in the Turner line-up.

"Her portraits of imaginary people use invented pre-histories and raise pertinent questions about how we read pictures in general," the organisers said.

The Turner Prize is renowned for rewarding controversial artists. Previous winners include Damien Hirst and transvestite potter Grayson Perry.

Tracey Emin was shortlisted in 1999 for her unmade bed.

The prize was set up in 1984 and is awarded to a British or UK-based artist aged under 50 for an outstanding presentation of their work in the previous 12 months.

It is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art.

Bookmakers William Hill installed Shrigley as their early favourite at 7-4, followed by Prouvost at 2-1, Sehgal at 5-2 and Yiadom-Boakye the outsider at 4-1.

"The consensus was that Shrigley would be the likely favourite. Those are our starting prices," spokesman Rupert Adams told AFP.

"Our theory was that it was about time that people laughed with the prize and not at the prize."

This year the shortlist exhibition will be held at the Ebrington Square gallery in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, as part of its role as the UK City of Culture 2013.

Video artist Elizabeth Price won the 2012 prize for her video installation "The Woolworths Choir of 1979".

This year's winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on December 2.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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