British artist Richard Wright wins Turner Prize
Tuesday 08 December 2009
British artist Richard Wright was named Monday the winner of this year's Turner Prize, one of the world's most controversial art awards, for his enormous gold-leaf fresco.
Wright beat hot favourite Roger Hiorns to win the 25,000-pound (41,000 dollars, 28,000 euros) prize, contemporary art's most prestigious award, at a ceremony at the Tate Britain gallery in London.
Wright, 49, said winning felt "shocking but very good, very good."
"Thanks very much. Just when I thought it was OK to relax, this happens."
"I have nothing grand to say about that, just thank you, that's all I have to say," he said after thanking his family and friends.
Wright, who creates wall paintings, spent four weeks on the huge gold-leaf fresco for the Turner prize, that almost covers one wall of the Tate gallery, and will be painted over once the exhibition closes.
"It was an intense process and we worked all the hours, every day," Wright, from Glasgow in Scotland, told Channel 4.
The Turner jury said in a statement that they "admired the profound originality and beauty of Wright's work."
Wright beat Hiorns, Enrico David and Lucy Skaer, who were also shortlisted for the prize, and will receive 5,000 pounds each.
The Turner Prize, one of Europe's most prestigious for the visual arts, is renowned for rewarding controversial works. However, this year's shortlist includes artists who practice more conventional painting and drawing.
Bookmakers William Hill said Hiorns was the 10/11 overwhelming favourite to win the prize, having attracted several high bets.
The prize was set up in 1984 to celebrate new developments in contemporary art. It is awarded to an artist aged under 50, born, living or working in Britain, for "an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work" in the 12 months to May.
Hiorns, 34, uses unusual materials for his installations. He transformed a London flat into a crystal cave by filling it with 90,000 litres of liquid copper sulphate which slowly crystallised. He is also nominated for turning a jet engine into a dust landscape.
Italian Enrico David, 43, is a "contemporary surrealist who creates rich and profoundly original painting, drawing and sculpture," according to Tate Britain.
His nominated work includes rocking papier mache egg-men and sinister-looking naked dolls.
Skaer, 34, makes drawings, sculptures and films, creating images often based on photographs that "hover in the space between recognition and ambiguity," Tate Britain said.
Her work includes the skull of a sperm whale which is viewed peepshow-style, as well as 26 sculptures made from coal dust.
Critics have argued for years about whether the award puts too much emphasis on hype over talent. Damien Hirst won in 1995 with a rotting cow's head and 1998 winner Chris Ofilie painted with elephant dung.
The 2005 winner Simon Starling, who dismantled a shed, made it into a boat, then turned it back into a shed again.
Stuckist artists, who campaign against "conceptualism" and favour traditional figurative painting, were to hold their traditional protest outside.
"The Turner Prize bears the same relationship to art as a pantomime horse does to show jumping," said the movement's co-founder Charles Thomson.
The Turner Prize 2009 exhibition will remain at Tate Britain until January 3.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate