One can admire the 1,500-plus 10-second photographs by Darren Almond (White Cube) of an empty office room seen across 24 hours, day changing into night changing back into day, a clock documenting the passing moments.
Hopelessness, futility, a sense of time standing still are strongly conveyed.
Few other artists, however, came up with objects of remotely equal subtlety and visual intelligence.
Still, in the absence of grand gestures, this was a year to take in smaller pleasures. Upstairs in the ineptly named ArtStart section (the innovative stuff), two dozen quiet points were made by artists whose only sin was elegance. That means women, of course. No crowd- pleasing museum will ever want Jane Mulfinger's heap of white feathers forever blown into a corner by two fans (Dominic Berning Gallery) or Siobhan Hapaska's marvellous travelling railway of Revolving Tumbleweed (Ker-lin Gallery), but both had visual poetry; and there was perhaps nothing more lonely and eloquent than the cityless map of the USA by Kathy Prendergast, she of the human anthill drawings, in which all known towns and rivers were wiped out by computer and replaced by 3,000 creeks and gulches whose names began with "lost" (Ker-lin, 3,000, edition of 25).