The pile is my system. Sort and pile. Sort and pile. Until the piles have disappeared.

– Kristan Horton

Orbit (doorknob), 2009. Digital colour photograph, Ed. 5. 134.5 x 101.5cm/ 53 x 40in. © Kristan Horton

Well, I guess this announcement saves me the review I was going to post … er, in a way. Kristan Horton has won the Grange Prize.

Earlier this week, I spent a couple of hours looking over the four shortlisted artists and watching the Grange Prize directed videos on youtube. I also had a listen to this slightly unsatisfying panel discussion among the artists.

Alongside Moyra Davey, Horton was my joint favourite. Josh Brand will make some important work with his photogram experiments but his time is yet to come. Leslie Hewitt‘s photography was not personal enough for me – her statements on history were far more expansive than Horton’s more personal musings about time. I think that subtle difference may endeared Horton to the voting public.

Oh, by the way, what should we think of a $50,000 prize for photography voted for entirely by the public?

Back to Horton. I dig his nervous energy, I dig the fact he’s not a “trained” photographer, and quite simply I like the composite-prints he has made of piles of stuff in his studio. I think they are nice objects.

What intrigued me about this prize was that the shortlisted artists were all gentle thinkers and their work was quite solitary. Maybe the humour in Horton’s sugar lump and popcorn models for Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Strangelove also swayed my preference?

All in all, the shortlisted works by the four artists were quite inaccessible required a lot of digestion (which, isn’t really a criticism). The videos and the audio also proved to me that sometimes artists are not the best people to speak about their work. They are so close they see and speak every nuance which can get in the way of immediate appreciation.

Sometimes objects can speak for themselves, which I think Horton’s do.

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