Richard Wilson : 20:50

Created over 20 years ago, this spectacular waist-high reservoir of recycled sump oil, one of

Britart’s most iconic installations and has been exhibited at his various galleries in London.

Installed at the new Saatchi building in Chelsea, the timeless work is well worth another look …

The artist Richard Wilson poses with his installation,

a vast tank made out of sheet metal and filled to the brim with thick sump oil

Wilson has become renowned for his site-specific installations. Of this work he says:

‘It can be applied to any internal space … and in each space it will be radically different

because it will reflect it and adapt to its parameters’

The work, in the basement of Saatchi’s new gallery in Chelsea,

reflects the architecture of the room, seemingly doubling its size

A walkway invites visitors directly through the tank,

so that they are surrounded by the reflective plane of oil

The installation contains 8,000 litres of sump oil 20:50, from which the work takes its name

[images and text : guardian.co.uk Tuesday 12 January 2010]

Richard Wilson : Saatchi Gallery : Sump Oil and Steel : Video

Richard Wilson’s 20:50 is truly a contemporary masterpiece. 20:50 transforms the gallery into a site of epic illusion. Viewed from the entrance platform 20:50 appears 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 is in fact entirely flooded in oil.

Visitors are invited to examine the piece close-up via a walkway that extends into the lake, placing the viewer, waist deep, at the centre of a perfect mathematically symmetrical scope. 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.

20:50 takes its name from the type of recycled engine oil used. It is thick, pitch black, and absolutely indelible: please take extreme care with your clothing and belongings, and no matter how tempting, please do not touch. 20:50 often has to be demonstrated to be believed: the liquid can be seen by blowing very gently on the surface. [extract : Saatchi Gallery]

Richard Wilson : Saatchi Gallery

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