The UK’s Turner Prize is arguably THE most influential art prize in the world. Its one of the few art competitions to receive global mainstream media attention which often results, not only in winners, and nominees seeing a significant rise in interest in the work, but an increase in their value too. Started in 1984 it seeks to celebrate the best work from the preceding year, and has been an important factor in the rise to prominence of conceptual art and the young British artists who have dominated the cotemporary art scene in the last fifteen years. Winners and nominees are a veritable who’s who of modern UK art and have included Damien Hirst, Anthony Gormley, Derek Jarman, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor, Gilbert and George, Lucian Freud, Peter Doig, Chris Ofilli, Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor-Wood, Gillian Wearing, Grayson Perry, Douglas Gordon and many many more.
Announced this evening this year’s prize has been won by the Glasgow-based artist Richard Wright with an abstract wall fresco. Created using a painstakingly slow technique used by ancient artists, the swirling geometric pattern which was inspired by medieval art, graphics and typography uses gold leaf and will rather amazingly be painted over once the exhibition finishes!!! At 49 Wright is one of the oldest artists to win the prize (its only open to artists under the age of 50) and his work is one of the most accessible to win the prize in recent years. Its beautiful, but is it a bit boring? A sign of our financially constrained times maybe?
The shortlist for this year’s competition also included works from Enrico David, Lucy Skaer, and Roger Hiorns.
Favourite to win prior to tonight’s ceremony was Roger Hiorns, who recently covered a London flat in copper sulphate solution so that every surface – including taps and lights – grew a crust of bright blue crystals, was showing a sculpture consisting of the metal dust from an atomised passenger jet engine.
Lucy Skaer showed a series of sculptures made from compressed coal dust as well as a work called Leviathan Edge, the skull of a sperm whale, barely visible behind a screen.
Enrico David created a tragi-comic stage-set of an installation, featuring giant eggmen, the face of iconic British actor Kenneth Williams, and a builder baring his backside.
The Turner Prize exhibit can be seen at the Tate Britain in London until 3rd January. If you cant make the exhibition The Guardian recently created a video tour of the show which can be viewed by clicking here.