LONDON — A sculptor who filled an abandoned apartment with shimmering blue crystals is the favorite to win Britain's best-known art award, the Turner Prize, on Monday.
The winner of the 25,000 pound ($40,000) prize was being chosen from among four finalists and announced at London's Tate Britain gallery. The Turner is awarded annually to a British artist under 50 and always inspires fierce public debate about the nature of art.
This year the bookies' favorite is Roger Hiorns, 34, who transformed a derelict London flat with thousands of liters (gallons) of crystal copper sulfate. The work, "Seizure," drew thousands of art fans to a run-down housing estate in south London earlier this year.
Rupert Adams of bookmakers William Hill said there was "a real buzz in art circles" about Hiorns, who has attracted an unprecedented level of betting.
The shortlist also includes London-based Enrico David, 43, an Italian-born artist who creates installations, sculptures and drawings inspired by everything from traditional crafts to 20th-century surrealism.
Lucy Skaer, 34, works in London and Glasgow and creates drawings, sculptures and films, and often uses found photos in her work. The fourth finalist is Richard Wright, 49, a Glasgow-based painter inspired by architecture.
The prize is named after 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner and was established in 1984.
Past winners include "Brit Art" upstarts such as transvestite potter Grayson Perry and shark pickler Damien Hirst.
An exhibition of work by the four finalists, on display at Tate Britain, also stretches beyond conventional art forms. Hiorns melted down a jet engine and sprayed it through nozzles to form a mound of fine granules, while Skaer displays the skull of a sperm whale and sculptures made from coal dust.