Transcripts of videos for John Moores 2012

Stage one video transcript

Iwona Blazwick interview:

Well painting is probably the most ubiquitous medium in art and it's in a way the most unforgiving. Everybody has had a go at painting since they were children and actually to rise above the great tide of, you know, amateur painting takes a great deal of skill and intelligence. Also, I think of course, reflecting a zeitgeist, a topicality and maybe doing something with the medium that we haven't seen before.

There isn't one dominant style [in what we've seen], which you couldn't have said probably even as recently as 20 years ago when there were very, very specific movements. I think we're seeing a much more eclectic approach to painting. One or two people have taken the big, bold step of taking the painting off the wall and crumpling it up or putting it on the floor. And that's exciting to see. Not many, but there's a few.

Judges discussion:

George Shaw: Well paintings very rarely make me laugh and there are a couple that make me laugh. I think the ability to make someone laugh is quite good.

Angela de la Cruz: I'm a minimalist painter, so I hate everything that isn't minimalist.

Will (Angela's assistant): Angela likes the minimalist works the best.

Angela Samata: So you like this one?

Angela de la Cruz: Yes.

George Shaw interview:

I had to get into a state of my mind so I wasn't judging the people. I wasn't judging the artists, I was judging one painting they've sent in and at this stage it was from a photograph. I'm normally on the other side, I've been on the other side where you've sent slides of your pictures in, or images of your paintings in. You often wondered what people do in that darkened room! You can think that it's a conspiracy against you, that you don't have a presence there. But it's quite remarkable how much of a presence some of the work has.

I'm quite shocked by how little of contemporary life actually appears, not only in painting, but in art in general to be quite honest. I mean the majority of the paintings we've been looking at, you could think that they have been painted almost in a vacuum. It's quite extraordinary. Maybe you could say that you would look for something with a social or a political context or a context that acknowledged the real world around it. But maybe the fact that those things were avoided in quite a lot of the work we've been looking at, is a political statement in itself.


Alan Yentob video transcript

It's a tough one this. First of all you're looking for impact and somehow or other you want the painting to speak to you in some way. Then I suppose you look at things and you think "Are they derivative? Is this someone trying to do something which has already been done, or is there something very personal, very particular about this painting?" And obviously when you're looking at a picture with all these well-informed people like Fiona and George and Iwona, there's quite a lot of dialogue going on.

It's kind of interesting how you really do want to get closer to the picture and you want to think harder about what it is, what the artist is trying to do. That may not be the job of the viewer in an exhibition, but you certainly feel a great responsibility as a judge to think hard.

So we're going through this process very methodically but quite often you say “Is this in the exhibition, is this something that I really like or am I not quite sure yet?” and you put it to one side and say that's a maybe. So the process is one in which you want to do the very best you can. First of all, it's obviously immediate reactions. They are always important. But also you want to dig deeper.

I think it’s very important that this show is in Liverpool at the Walker. I think there’s been a really interesting story over the last 10 or 15 years in that London is not the only play where art can be seen and enjoyed and Londoners are not the only people who should see it. And I think that the Walker was one of the great innovators. The John Moores Prize was there before the Turner Prize. It’s a very important and significant prize and it’s very timely because of course painting has come back.

And so where do the artists take the art of painting? There are works here which begin to challenge that question of; What do you put on a wall that’s painted? Can you paint a garment? What is a painting? And I think that the fact that in Liverpool, in Newcastle and in Manchester, we have established excellent galleries that have got great work in them is very critical to the cultural health of the United Kingdom.

Sarah Pickstone video transcript

Sir Peter Blake: The winner of the main prize this year is... (I'm not going to pause) Sarah Pickstone. [Applause]

Sarah Pickstone  - on winning the prize:  I can't quite believe it! I'm really shocked, I'm really surprised and I'm incredibly proud because I think the shortlist was really strong. I think the show is really good. I've been here once before as a prize winner and it means a lot to win.

Sarah Pickstone - on the themes in the painting: The source of the painting was actually the tree and the combination of the images. The images from Stevie Smith's poem came about 'in conversation' with the tree. Whilst making the painting I was reading a lot of Stevie Smith's poems. The combination of that and thinking about her whilst drawing the tree... it's like a journey from the source, from the drawing, back into the art and then back out into the real world again. It seemed to work. There's a conversation. There's am alchemical energy in this painting that doesn't always happen. 

So I think I did say it's about rebirth - I think what I meant was that: the poem itself is quite a dark poem. I wasn't wholly conscious of it but the poem is about a man and I was interested that Smith had drawn a girl to go with the poem. I think the woman really does represent something to do with possibility, openness, creativity, a lack of fixity, multiplicity and the possibilities you can get within painting. Because I suppose above all the painting is about what you can do with painting, which is: what you're thinking about when you're there in the studio. It's about how do you make this work? How do you make this image work?