Hiorns crystallised part of a housing estate using copper sulphate
The shortlist for the 2009 Turner prize includes an artist who turned a South London flat into a crystal cave and a specialist in wall paintings.
Roger Hiorns filled a derelict flat with sparkling blue chemical structures while Richard Wright paints directly onto gallery walls.
Surrealist Enrico David and Lucy Skaer, who bases her work on photographs she has found, also compete for the prize.
The winner of the £25,000 award will be announced on 7 December.
Hiorns works are site specific so the nature of what he will produce for the exhibition of the shortlisted artists in October is still under discussion.
However Tate Britain have confirmed that Wright will be allowed to draw directly on the walls of the gallery.
The judges for the prize this year include broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, art critic Jonathan Jones and the director of the Folkestone Triennial, Dr Andrea Schlieker.
Schlieker said that it had taken six hours of debate and analysis on the final day of judging to whittle 19 strong candidates down to four.
The judge praised Skaer's ability to transform the everyday into "dazzling chromatic brilliance" and said the panel had been impressed with the artist's willingness to branch out from drawing into sculpture.
Richard Wright's works were described as "so exquisite, like jewels" while Enrico David's work was both diverse and exciting, the most sexually explicit of the four artists and with a strong sense of the uncanny.
Roger Hiorns intrigued the panel with his interest in the ritualistic and the occult.
Themes emerged to the judges after the shortlist was decided.
"I can't remember a Turner prize where drawing figured so strongly," says Schlieker, noting that in times of recessions it is an accessible medium.
"There's a strong preoccupation with craft, the handmade and folk art - a kind of going back to base materials."
The Turner Prize is awarded yearly to a living artist under 50 for putting on an outstanding exhibition in the previous year. The award is open only to British artists or those who live and work in Britain.
Both Hiorns and David are based in London although Hiorns is originally from Birmingham. Skaer and Wright are both Glasgow based.
Previous winners have included Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Rachel Whiteread and Grayson Perry.
Last year Mark Leckey won with a pop culture influenced film featuring Homer Simpson and Felix the Cat.