Richard Wilson 20:50 (Review)
The next time you visit the Saatchi gallery, you may find yourself sniffing the air as wafts of petroleum drift up from the ground floor. Downstairs the smell is overwhelming, where nestled into the basement space lies Richard Wilson’s 20:50, a site specific installation containing 8,000 litres of recycled sump oil.
To many, the gallery looks empty because the work’s glossy black presents the illusion of an immense void. However, it soon becomes evident that the cavernous space is not empty, but rather brimming with thick, viscous oil. The glassy surface is patterned with angular lines and graphic shapes which mirror the room’s architectural elements. Peering over the railing, visitors are delightfully confronted with their own reflections. For the daring, a walkway allows visitors to surround themselves with the immense mass of waist-high engine oil and place themselves within a disorientating game of reflections.
Wilson is known for his installations which confront notions of architecture, engineering, construction and technical feats. 20:50 was previously on view at Saatchi’s Boundary Road and County Hall galleries. Offering a unique experience within each environment, the work invites visitors to reevaluate the space within which they inhabit.
- Courtney Finley
Richard Wilson 20:50, Saatchi Gallery
Until 7 May
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4SQ.
Daily 10am-6pm. Free Admission.
Image Credit: Richard Wilson 20:50. Site specific oil installation:1987, used sump oil and steel, dimensions variable Source: The Saatchi Gallery