27 Apr 2018

NZ artist Luke Willis Thompson shortlisted for Turner Prize

9:16 am on 27 April 2018

For a work in which he collaborated with the partner of a US police shooting victim.


Gallery view of Luke Willis Thompson's Autoportrait.

Gallery view of Luke Willis Thompson's Autoportrait. Photo: Andy Keate.

A New Zealand artist has been shortlisted in one of the world's most prestigious fine arts awards for a collaboration with a US woman who livestreamed the aftermath of her partner's fatal shooting by police.

30-year-old Luke Willis Thompson, originally from Auckland, is shortlisted for Britain's Turner Prize for the 35mm film work Autoportrait, which he produced during a residency at Chisenhale Gallery in London last year. 

According to Tate, the work continues Thompson's "preoccupation with raising questions around personal, artistic and political agency." 

In July 2016, Diamond Reynolds broadcast live via Facebook the moments immediately after the fatal shooting of her partner Philando Castile - a black 32-year-old school cafeteria worker - by police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic-stop in Minnesota. 

Yanez was acquitted of Castile's manslaughter.

"Thompson invited Reynolds to work with him to produce an aesthetic response that could act as a 'sister image' to her broadcast, breaking with the well-known image of Reynolds caught in a moment of violence which had circulated widely online and in the news," Thompson's Tate biography reads.

Luke Willis Thompson

Luke Willis Thompson Photo: supplied.

"Thompson's silent filmed portrait of Reynolds was made during a period of uncertainty between the charging of the officer who killed Castille and the subsequent trial."

The shortlisted artists were announced yesterday by Tate Britain, and include the group Forensic Architecture, and individuals Naeem Mohaiemen and Charlotte Prodger. 

Willis Thompson lives and works in London. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland from 2006 to 2010, before moving to Germany where he attended the Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt am Main between 2013 and 2015. 

In 2014 he received New Zealand's prestigious Walters Prize for the work inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam, that took gallery visitors on a mystery taxi ride.

The winner of the Turner Prize will be announced in December. Finalists' work will be on display at London's Tate Britain from September 25, 2018 to January 6, 2019. The winner will receive £25,000. Past winners include Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread and Gilbert and George. 

Since it was set up in 1984, the Turner Prize has become one of the best-known visual arts prizes. 

Each year, four 'British' artists are shortlisted, and the prize is awarded for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation in the preceding year.

'British' can mean an artist working primarily in Britain or an artist born in Britain working anywhere.