Nominated for the Turner Prize on two occasions(1988, 1989) and was awarded the prestigious DAAD residency in Berlin (1992-1993).
Richard Wilson is an English sculptor, installation artist and musician. His work is characterized by architectural concerns with volume, illusionary spaces and auditory perception, mainly expressed through large sculptures, which draw on the methods of engineering and which, when installed, parley with their architectural environment.
While his work is in a class by itself, Wilson's art is aligned with the genre of site-specific installation art, transforming the viewer's experience of the space.
SLICK OIL (20:50), LONDON, 1987.
In his work 20:50, first exhibited at Matt's Gallery, London in 1987 and which became one of the signature pieces of the Saatchi Gallery in 2003, all rooms are part-filled with highly reflective used sump oil creating an illusion of the room turned upside down was first exhibited.
The liquid shimmers and glistens, gracefully reflecting the clean, white architecture of the room in which it rests, while the visitor is slowly submerging through a tapering walkway just into the middle of the preternaturally still pool, subtly distorting the impressions of the space.
The most important aspect in Wilson's work is the way he manages to transform a liquid into something that feels surprisingly solid, revealing at the same time the discrepancy between the work's immaculate beauty and the hazardous nature of its material.
20:50 is considered to be a defining work in the genre of site-specific installation art and more than two decades after it was first created, it continues to confound our preconceptions, ensuring that it still feels fresh, relevant and important today.