The result of last year’s Turner Prize winner came as quite a surprise. In the past, winners of the coveted prize have impressed the judges by elephant dung and erotic ceramics, but it seems that 2009’s winner changed the record.

Richard Wright ‘s winning gold leaf mural can only be described as beautiful. It didn’t try and make a comment about society nor did it have an underlying political or moralistic message. Wright’s golden masterpiece was purely intended to provide the onlooker with a pleasurable visual experience. And it did. Quite spectacularly.

The tragedy or perhaps the brilliance of the work is its temporality. The ethereal beauty of Wright’s wall mural no longer exists – a great big roller brush, laden with white glossy paint, has covered it forever.

Art has nearly always been commercial. As human beings we are obsessed by placing value on objects and experiences, but Richard Wright, in his stubborn, Glaswegian way has tried to break this consumer mould.

Damien Hirt may have sold his work at auction for a sharp $125 million, in August 2008, but Richard Wright’s work can never make it to auction. Each example of his work has such a short life span, that it will have already disappeared before some art dealer can give it a price tag. In a sense his work is priceless.

Wright wants his art to be compared to a musical performance, something that will exist in the memory of the creator and the audience, but something that cannot be owned, sold of moved. The winning mural is like a sparkling jewel, a thing so precious that it will never get the chance to fade.

Despite competing against a strong shortlist, there was never any doubt in mind that Wright would be the winner. His subtle and inoffensive gestures remind us that we don’t have to buy something to enjoy it – a vivid, beautiful memory will serve us just as well.

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