Michael Dean, at the age of 39, has been shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize. The Newcastle born and bred artist, who is currently living and working in London, has a unique way of creating his art by writing before he crafts.
The words he scribes on the page, he later transforms into a visual parallel where he moulds his ideas into a physical form. The reason I personally believe his art to be so extraordinary is in the way he crafts his work using recognisable objects which we see in everyday life, such as concrete and soil. In doing this, he portrays a sense of realism, connecting a contemporary audience to his works.
Dean’s exhibition ‘The Work’ portrays his clearly strong thoughts and ideologies to do with the poverty line. Currently the poverty line (which is the amount of money the government states is the minimum that two adults and two children need to survive for a year in the UK) stands at £20,436. Dean takes this idea and transforms it into a powerful image by placing before you a mound of pennies, which its total amounts to one penny below the poverty line.
For me, this is Dean’s way of portraying the continually growing economic hardship we as a society are facing; with the pressure of keeping up with the latest trends, causing the expense of living to continually rise. The significance of putting this large sum of money into pennies shows the desperate measures many have to go to be able to afford to survive: counting up the most insignificant amount of money we have, which as a society we tend not to value.
However, some may view Dean’s work in a more light-hearted tone, saying he is simply teaching the Asda motto that ‘every little helps’. The way you can view art in many different ways depending on your personal stance is one of its many beauties and from this emotive, powerful and exciting work, you can clearly see why Dean has been shortlisted. He certainly would get my vote!