Richard Wilson


20:50 (1987)

20:50 by Richard Wilson is a pool of used sump oil which sits at the bottom of the Saatchi Gallery on a permanent residency. The bottom floor space is filled, apart from a metal steel path which leads the viewer to the centre of the installation. The oil is static and is hard to believe what it is, questioning the logistics of how it was made but then your other senses catch up with you and the strong odour of oil hits your nostrils.

The work reflects the whole space, connecting the ceiling to the floor , duplicating the surrounding. It is interesting how something which is considered pollutant and dangerous can be so seductive for the viewer. The clean cut corners and the reflective oil which alters the space engulfs you. Instead of wanting to escape from something which would normally be overpowering and claustrophobic you want to touch.

Wilson changes the whole interior and by doing so tests are preconceptions of the space creating an illusionary environment which not only gets us to question the surrounding interior, where the space begins and ends, but also the material itself. Turning a material which normally is considered standoffish to something which provokes the viewer to want to interact.


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