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Nonpareil - The Turner Prize
by David Yu




The Turner Prize winner was announced earlier in the week…. and the winner? Well, to the shock and surprise of everyone, Richard Wright walked away with the bragging rights and the cash prize of 40000. This entire award process officially places his practice in the same league with the likes of previous winners including Martin Creed, Antony Gormley, Richard Long, Gilbert & George and nominees like Simon Patterson, Tracey Emin, Craigie Horsfield, and Tacita Dean.

It seems that the Turner Prize has always prided itself with being controversial. From lights turning on and off to un-made beds, there has always been something involved that really tears at the feathers of the British viewing public. The media opinion on the Turner Prize only fans the fire with the yearly “tarring and feathering” of  the selected artists. This year however, it was a relatively calm selection. Enrico David was the only contender that could have had some media backlash with his seedy/ perverse installation. In fact the British public actually seemed to engage particularly well by backing up early favorite Roger Hiorns. Even bookies pitted Hiorns as the sure bet to win the prize. Hiorns was nominated for his work Seizure, which crystallized an entire council flat in Elephant and Castle with Copper Sulfate. At the Tate, Hiorns atomized a jet engine. Even though contemporary art has seen this type of work time and time again – ie: shifting the perception of an object by revealing it in two different states of being - Hiorns captures viewers' imagination with his ambitious feats.

Instead Richard Wright won with his intricate and famously impermanent wall paintings. He was nominated for his exhibition at Ingleby Gallery and also for his work at the 55th Carnegie International in Pittsburg. At the Tate, he showed a large gold leaf wall painting that looked like a satellite cloud coverage photo arranged into a Rorschach test. To be completely honest, I’m not too sure what happened.

-- David Yu, London City Editor

Posted by David Yu on 12/13/09

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