Turner Prize artists create abstract idents for BBC

BBC Four has launched a series of idents with imagery created by artists to celebrate its new season BBC Four Goes Abstract: When Art Broke Free.

Sebastian Buerkner
Sebastian Buerkner

The idents (which can be seen at the bottom of this article) have been created by Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost, artists John Smith and Sebastian Buerkner and this year’s Turner Prize nominee James Richards.

They air on the channel from this week onwards and BBC Four channel editor Cassian Harrison says, ‘BBC Four prides itself on being eclectic, esoteric, intelligent and witty – something that all of our artists have captured in their extremely original creations.’

Provost has been inspired by ‘the magic of images within the TV screen’ as well as tricks associated with moving image, and the idea of images ‘triggering a trompe-l’oeil of emotions,’ she says. 

Buerkner says his piece is ‘a curiosity into the emotive potential of visual disintegration’ and that he was ‘playing with perception thresholds’.

Richards says his ‘nostalgic and grainy’ work showing images of sky and birds begins by looking filmic but becomes something ‘more painterly and abstract’.

John Smith has used the quartered BBC 4 ident grid and ‘deconstructed its elements’.

He adds, ‘It seemed obvious that the images could be abstracted by simply zooming in on them until their origins became unrecognisable and they appeared as abstract shapes and colours.’

After the season, which runs until 14 September, the idents will become part of the BBC Four ‘collection’ according to director of marketing and audiences, television, Cary Wakefield, who says, ‘Working with artists to create new channel idents is a first for BBC Four’.

Programming for the season includes Abstract Design with Peter Saville, which will be hosted on BBC Arts Online. 

Saville looks at how abstract art is part of our everyday lives. His investigation touches on everything from Kazimir Malevich and his Black Square to more contemporary product design while elsewhere he makes the argument that smartphones owe their look and feel to the ‘pioneers of abstraction, via the fundamental building blocks of the Bauhaus and Dieter Rams,’ according to the BBC.

Archive films will also be re-shown, including a feature on Barbara Hepworth, which is set in Cornwall and looks at the life and work of the artist.

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