Richard Wright (No, Not That One) Wins 2009 Turner Prize


The Turner Prize committee has announced this year’s winner for the top art prize in Great Britain, and it doesn’t involve text-based art, bodily fluids, minimalism, or performance. Instead, artist Richard Wright uses classical fresco techniques learned from Old Masters tradition to create temporary, site-specific installations like the gold-leafed piece currently residing in an empty room in the Tate Britain. The Rorschach-like mural is a far cry from the sensationalist circus of Turners past, and a dark horse winner in this year’s contest.

The catch? Once the exhibition is over, the “breathtaking” untitled fresco will be painted over in white emulsion, never to be seen again. As The Guardian points out, Wright’s work – which cannot be bought, sold, or transported – exists almost completely outside the art market, though he is repped by none other than gallery don Larry Gagosian.

Beating out Roger Hiorns – whom bookies were favoring 10-11 – as well as fellow Glaswegian Lucy Skaer and Enrico David, Wright’s win marks a return to what one juror calls “profound originality and beauty” in the Turner Prize.

The Turner Prize exhibition will be on view at the Tate Britain through January 3, 2010. View a video preview of the exhibition here.