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Richard Wilson is an internationally-renowned sculptor and installation artist who often works on an architectural scale. 20:50, his room-sized sea of reflective sump oil, is an overwhelming experience. More recent works like Jamming Gears, made for London’s Serpentine Gallery, and Over Easy, built into The Arc arts centre in Stockton-in-Tees, offer resonant and profound challenges to our sense of space and of the environment around us. By turns amusing and disturbing, Wilson’s creations are about upsetting our preconceptions of who we are and what kind of world we live in.
In this profile, Wilson outlines the genesis and meanings of a selection of key works, including Slice of Reality, a 20-metre-high cross-section of 600-ton dredger set in the Thames riverbed near the Millennium Dome. Like this monument to Britain’s shipping industry, many of Wilson’s works are created for specific places, and he reflects here on this, on the importance of collaboration and on his spectacular performances throughout the 1980s with Paul Burwell and Anne Bean in the Bow Gamelan Ensemble.