Richard Wilson, Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got A Great Idea…, 2012
As a starting point for sculpture, the last line of The Italian Job might not seem like an obvious, sensible or even remotely workable choice but then Richard Wilson isn’t an artist to let a little thing like impracticality get in the way of a good idea. So, how better to join in the flag-waving of this summer than by balancing a replica of a red, white and blue coach over the edge of the roof of an iconic seaside building? Having written about this summer’s bus-based art a while ago for MostlyFilm, I hadn’t intended to post about this here but a spate of transport related posts have brought it back to mind and you can never have too much sunny, smile-inducing art. Well, you probably can, but let’s plough on regardless.
Richard Wilson, 20:50, 1987 (Matt’s Gallery, Martello Street, London)
Art can make us see the world differently. Certainly the way both Gordon Matta-Clark and Richard Wilson have cut away sections of buildings challenges our perception of architecture making us see city spaces differenttly in a literal but nonethheless interesting way.
Wilson’s iinstallation 20:50, a room with a seemingly mirrored surface at roughly waist height, offers a strangely new understanding of the space it’s installed in. For the unsuspecting visitor, the first clue about the nature of the surface is the smell, approaching the room one is greeted with a powerful aroma of oil. Suddenly the title – 20:50 – makes sense: the room is flooded with used engine oil. A walkway leads out into the middle of the space, from which you get to see the features of the room reflected all around you.
Richard Wilson, Turning the Place Over, 2007
Quite high on the list of art I wish I’d seen is Richard Wilson’s installation for the 2007 Liverpool Biennial. Like other works by Wilson, who is probably best known for his installation 20:50 at the Saatchi Gallery (about which more another time, possibly even tomorrow now that it’s in my head), Turning the Place Over was an architectural intervention on an ambitious scale but unlike 20:50 this was a temporary installation made by messing with the fabric of an empty building.