Folk song tipped to win controversial Turner Prize

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Britain's Turner Prize is announced Monday, with bookmakers tipping a recording of a traditional Scottish folk song as this year's winner of the most controversial award in contemporary art.

Glasgow-born Susan Philipsz is among four artists vying for the 25,000-pound (39,000-dollar, 30,000-euro) prize, which will be announced at the Tate Britain museum in London on Monday.

Her work, entitled "Lowlands", is a sound installation of "Lowlands Away", a 16th century Scottish lament by a sailor lost at sea.

An untrained singer, Philipsz sang three versions of the song unaccompanied and then mixed together the recordings echoing off the underside of bridges in Glasgow, creating an ethereal sound.

Bookmakers Paddy Power have made her the 4-11 favourite, with her closest rival, artist Dexter Dalwood, on 5-1.

Dalwood's paintings take their inspiration from news events such as the death of government scientist David Kelly, who killed himself in 2003 during the furore over evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Another subject is the IRA's bombing of a hotel in Brighton, which targeted then prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984.

Dalwood creates richly layered paintings about individuals and events that have shaped Western society throughout the 20th century, and his latest painting, White Flag 2010, takes a look at the fallout from the Iraq war.

The other two artists in the running are Spanish-born Angela de la Cruz, who paints traditional monochrome paintings only to distort them to make them "a bit broken", and The Otolith Group, a collaboration comprising Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar which works with a range of disciplines, including film.

The Turner Prize was set up in 1984 to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art. It is open to British artists aged under 50.

It has regularly been the subject of controversy, notably in 1999 when Tracey Emin won for "My Bed", which featured an unmade bed with stained sheets.

That prompted the then culture minister to accuse the jury of deliberately selecting "shock" works, while one of his successors derided the entries in 2002 as "cold, mechanical bullshit".

© 2010 AFP

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