The final 12 artists (L-R): Samuel Zealey, Elliot Wilcox, Iain Andrews, Eugenie Scrase, Rhys Himsworth, Tiago Lisboa, Giles Ripley, Matt Clark, Saad Qureshi, Ben Lowe, Claudia Borgna, Suki Chan.
School of Saatchi
As they came to choose a longlist of 12, however, the judges grew increasingly suspicious, and began to question the intentions of the artists, rather than the work itself. "You definitely seem like a real artist," said Collings to one hopeful, as if their task was to sniff out the dental hygienist hiding among the conceptualists.
The four judges are Tracey Emin, Kate Bush (not that one, the curator one), critic Matthew Collings and collector Frank Cohen, here described as "the Saatchi of the north".
The virtual unknowns - Suki Chan, Matt Clark, Eugenie Scrase, Saad Qureshi, Ben Lowe, Samuel Zealey - have been whittled down from an initial 12.
Initially, the judges acted with the kind of rigour we might imagine is largely missing from the art world: the guy who crumpled up two emails and put them on a table was quickly dismissed, as was the bloke who copied out War and Peace in longhand. Emin called one artist's explication of his arrangement of folding chairs "the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard in my life". Tim Dowling