Nominated against three other artists, Richard Wright, took home the honorary prize of 25,000£ for his intricate site-specific gold leaf fresco at the Tate Britain. The traditional techniques and referential details within his wall painting separated him from the nominees, using the same process of Renaissance artists while implying his own contemporary additions. The applique of the wall fresco was a transferred drawing that was then painted over in glue and gilded.
The Glasglow artist had the opportunity to develop a strong piece of art that directly inspires the museums architecture and environment, the glowing gold leaf was an ephemeral treatment that creates an intimate energy. The Guardian reported Wright announcing,” ‘I am interested in the fragility of the moment of engagement – in heightening that moment,’ he said. To see a work knowing that it will not last, he said, ‘emphasises that moment of its existence’.” Wrights last year and opportunity to win the Turner prize at age 49 is a huge accomplishment that is more than a tribute to art through technique that most Turner prize winners were lacking, but a response to the trembling art market- for this commissioned piece cannot be sold or transported. By the end of the exhibition in early January, the walls will be repainted and the Wright prize winning painting will vanish into the museum’s white walls.