Labour should win the Turner prize – it's a disastrous piece of performance art
Source:theguardian Author:Jonathan Jones Date: 2015-07-29 Size:
The Labour Party may well be in line to win the Turner prize. If it goes on like this and descends into factions, it will have everything – bloody verbal violence, sensational controversy and most of all a stunning……

Social sculpture ... revisiting Labour’s 1980s battle scenes. (L to r) Tony Mulhearn and Derek Hatton.

The Labour Party may well be in line to win the Turner prize. If it goes on like this and descends into factions, it will have everything – bloody verbal violence, sensational controversy and most of all a stunning ability to alienate middle England. It could take the Turner out of its recent doldrums and back to its controversial glory days.

After all, this year a housing estate is on the Turner shortlist. Why not a political party next year?

Related: Turner prize 2015 shortlist: three women – and a housing estate

There is just one thing holding Labour back: you can’t win the Turner twice. For its spectacular regression into its own failed past is surely all the work of Jeremy. No, not that one. I am talking about Jeremy Deller. This Turner-winning political artist has a brilliant flair for what I like to call social sculpture. Deller gets people to help him, to be his art. Most famously, he persuaded historical re-enactors who usually restage battles from the English civil war to work with him and veterans of the 1980s miner’s strike to recreate the infamous Battle of Orgreave.

But now Deller has woven his masterpiece. He has got an entire political movement of bad actors to repeat the miserable dogmatic divisions and wretched losing streak of the Labour party in the 1980s. Commentators trying to make sense of this vast living – well, partly living – art work are falling over themselves trying to work out who is meant to be Michael Foot, who the militant tendency, and where the hell Neil Kinnock has got to when we need him. I mean at least he lost honourably.

It is of course a counterfactual: Jeremy Corbyn is not so much the new Michael Foot as a fantasy version of 1980s history in which militant won. Meanwhile, Blairites are being forced to act out the catastrophe that might have led to: they will be pushed out and made to wander the wilderness in humiliating phallic costumes designed by performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd (who will have to change her name back from Marvin Gaye Chetwynd to this more socialist nomenclature). Blair himself will be dressed as what Chetwynd calls a “penile drone” as he is whipped through the streets of whatever British town can still be identified as a potential Labour win by a ballet corps representing socialist monks. His penance for winning three elections for Labour will be a remarkable mixture of medieval morality play and Pasolini’s Salo. How can the Turner judges resist? Only if they are Tory scum or live south of Berwick-upon-Tweed, which pretty much means they are Tory scum.

The ruder bits of this scabrous masterpiece are the work of Jake and Dinos Chapman. The Chapmans have scripted the stuff where Labour comrades call each other “morons” and also came up with the chorus of, er, morons that chants “Tory!” whenever Liz Kendall appears.

Fabulous. This I like. It has shock, provocation and a total lack of charm. No one with a mortgage or a garden will understand it. Leave them to their Osborne watercolours. This is art. This is the way to spit at the bourgeoisie.

Is it really possible the Labour party can win the Turner prize? Perhaps not. But it has even less chance of winning a general election.

[Editor] 张艳

    Artintern