Richard Wilson’s 20:50 is truly a contemporary masterpiece. The work was the only permanent installation at the Saatchi Gallery and had been continuously shown in each of the gallery’s venues between 1991 to 2015.
Viewed from the entrance platform 20:50 appeared as a holographic field: simultaneously a polished floor, infinite clear pool, an expansive and indefinable virtual space that clinically absorbs and mirrors the gallery architecture. The room was in fact entirely flooded in oil.
Through this altered perspective 20:50’s phantasmical aura is enhanced, amplifying the disorientating and mesmerising experience of the space, and further confounding physical logic. The glossy, viscous surface conjures the illusion that you are suspended somewhere heady and precarious
20:50 takes its name from the type of recycled engine oil used. It is thick, pitch black, and absolutely indelible. 20:50 often has to be demonstrated to be believed: the liquid can be seen by blowing very gently on the surface.
Since this interview took place at Saatchi Gallery, the 20:50 installation has been acquired by an Australian gambling millionaire. The work of art will be housed at Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) outside Hobart in Tasmania. The subterranean museum, which is the largest privately run space in Australia, opened in 2011.
“A number of institutions have expressed the wish to present this unique work before it lands at its new permanent home… touring 20:50 is a wish all parties are happy to explore,” adds Saatchi’s spokeswoman.
Richard Wilson says that Walsh has invited him to Tasmania to view the Mona site. “20:50 is essentially an idea. It can be applied to any internal space and in each space it will be radically different in appearance – because it will reflect that specific space and adapt to that space’s physical parameters – but fundamentally on the level of function, materials and meaning, it is always exactly the same,” the artist says.
More info on Richard Wilson http://richardwilsonsculptor.com/index.html
Richard Wilson | filmed by Out of Sync | London 2014
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
© Out of Sync 2020