Upside down

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.

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Deformities and pregnant pauses

Nina Saunders, The Age of Reason, 1995

If rice can be art – and clearly it can be, and good art at that – then so can all sorts of everyday objects and materials. Like chairs. Admittedly chairs might more usually be expected to count as, say, furniture design, but attempts to categorise things can so easily go wrong and sometimes a chair just isn’t a chair. Such as when it’s afflicted by a large spherical tumour. Or when it starts to collapse in on itself. Or, well, any number of things really…

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