One of London’s most memorable contemporary art installations is returning to the capital. The work—Richard Wilson’s most famous installation, which involves flooding a room with gallons of reflective engine oil—returns some three decades after its debut in the city.
Wilson will be installing the large-scale sculpture, 20:50, in an upper room of London’s Hayward Gallery on the South Bank for a major group show this fall. Called “Space Shifters,” the exhibition will feature works by more than 20 international artists who “alter or disrupt our sense of space and re-orient our understanding of our surroundings in ways that are by turns subtle and dramatic,” according to a statement from the gallery.
Wilson’s optical work will be one of the more dramatic pieces in the show, capturing every architectural detail of the newly renovated Brutalist venue. The installation’s mirror-like surface reflects its surroundings with an incredible clarity, the artist tells artnet News. The Hayward iteration is going to be “very big and beautiful,” Wilson says.
Visitors can view the sea of oil from a platform above or from an aisle walkway Wilson will build to cut through the waist-high muck. But beware: If you are tempted to touch the art, you’ll end up with inky black oil all over your hands. Better to blow lightly on the surface to confirm for yourself that what looks solid is indeed liquid. Read more