An artist who renamed herself Spartacus and a man who draws a city inhabited by figures made of human excrement have been shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Turner Prize.

2 May 2012 - 6:49 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 10:48 AM

An artist who renamed herself Spartacus and a man who draws a city inhabited by figures made of human excrement have been shortlisted for top British contemporary art award the Turner Prize.

Spartacus Chetwynd, a performance artist previously called Lali, and Paul Noble, creator of fictional city Nobson Newtown, are among four artists nominated for the prize, which is known for backing challenging conceptual art.

Also listed are Elizabeth Price, who makes sci-fi-inspired videos including one dramatising the undersea existence of a sunken ship filled with luxury cars, and Luke Fowler, who has made three films about psychiatrist RD Laing.

The prize, awarded by the Tate gallery to British artists under 50, rewards work shown over the past year. Its winner will be announced on December 3 after an exhibition of all four artists at Tate Britain, which starts on October 20.

The winner will receive £25,000 ($40,500, 30,600 euros), while the other shortlisted artists get £5,000 each.

Chetwynd, 38 -- who says she lives in a nudist colony -- creates an "atmosphere of joyful improvisation" in her paintings, performances and installations, the gallery said.

Noble, 48, who has been creating drawings of the twisted imaginary city with residents made of human excrement for 15 years, was nominated for a show bringing together the "painstakingly detailed and engrossing drawings" at London's Gagosian gallery.

"Undercutting the precise, technical drawing is a dark satirical narrative which unfolds in the micro-cosmos of these monumental works," the gallery said in a statement.

Price, 45 -- who like Chetwynd and Noble is from London -- was listed for her trilogy of video installations, shown at BALTIC in Gateshead, northeast England.

Her latest work West Hinder uses motion graphics and synthetic voices to evoke a container ship of luxury cars corroding in the North Sea.

The BALTIC gallery describes the work as "a repressed psychic force, emanating from the deep."

Fowler, 34, from Glasgow, is an artist, filmmaker and musician who last year made All Divided Selves, about RD Laing, who died in 1989. It uses archive footage to delve into the meaning of psychiatry and the pain of mental illness.

The prize -- named for JMW Turner, the 18th- and 19th-century British painter who was controversial in his own day -- has often sparked a furore.

Tracey Emin's My Bed, a stained bed surrounded with detritus, drew criticism from the then-culture minister as a "shock" nominee in 1999 but attracted an average of 2,000 visitors per day.

Since 2000 the Turner show has often attracted protests from traditionalist art activist group the Stuckists, who want a return to figurative painting.