fri 05/06/2020

Richard Wright wins the 2009 Turner Prize | reviews, news & interviews

Richard Wright wins the 2009 Turner Prize

Richard Wright wins the 2009 Turner Prize

An imposing gold-leaf fresco takes the artworld's top award

Untitled, Richard Wright's Turner Prize-winning exhibit at Tate Britain
Richard Wright's work celebrates impermanence but his election last night as the 2009 Turner Prize winner - an award which brings with it a purse of £25,000 - has guaranteed it a sort of immortality. The Glasgow-based painter's major piece currently on display at Tate Britain is an enormous, luxuriant and ornate symmetrical fresco painted in shimmering gold leaf which commands the otherwise virtually empty room it occupies.
Richard Wright's work celebrates impermanence but his election last night as the 2009 Turner Prize winner - an award which brings with it a purse of £25,000 - has guaranteed it a sort of immortality. The Glasgow-based painter's major piece currently on display at Tate Britain is an enormous, luxuriant and ornate symmetrical fresco painted in shimmering gold leaf which commands the otherwise virtually empty room it occupies.

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A very worthy winner. Fantastic to see a 49 year old artist (the prize is only open to those under 50) snatch the award from under the nose of the much younger bookie's favourite. And he employs a technque (spolvero) - transferring his compositions by pricking holes in a drawing and rubbing through powder - that would have been familiar to any early Renaissance master. Personally I had favoured Enrico David as his work departs furthest from the current tyranny of the 'neat idea'. But still pleased to see Wright win with this hypnotic, beautiful work.

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