Richard Wilson. Stealing Space
26 Jan — 25 Mar 2017 at the Annely Juda Fine Art in London, United Kingdom
The exhibition features four new works, two of which are in direct response to the gallery's internal and external architecture.
Works in this exhibition dominate the gallery's space and stand, in places, above the height of the architectural beams. In the main room, Wilson has created a sculpture of a slice of the negative space or “space between” the hallway and staircase leading to the gallery’s main entrance. Partial details of a doorway, steps or a bannister in negative form are visible on the sculpture which sits straight on the ground at a tilted angle, offering a reassessment of the perhaps completely unnoticed yet familiar surroundings the viewer has just encountered. Block of Dering, meanwhile, takes the façade of the gallery building at 23 Dering Street and reconfigures it into a near-cube. Even the gallery’s signage can be made out in this sculpture which presents the local architecture in an entirely new way.
In the second room, a sculpture delineates the “space between” an area of Wilson’s home in South East London whilst Blocka Flats takes a piece of household furniture reconfigured into a form reminiscent of an urban landscape on a micro scale, the very same landscape which Wilson refers to in other works on a 1:1 scale. Two preparatory sketches for each work hang near their sculptural counterparts, whilst in the final room, Wilson shows maquettes of past works and those not yet realised.
Wilson’s work offers a new perspective on everyday spaces, forcing us to re-evaluate our surroundings and to look again. Past works slice through and upturn otherwise recognisable objects in, for example, Slice of Reality 2000, a boat sliced to its living quarters only and standing on the bank of the River Thames. Set North for Japan (74 °33' 2") 2000, meanwhile, is a full scale reconstruction of the artist’s London terraced house reduced to a metal frame and partially submerged into the ground in Japan, maintaining its exact original perpendicular and horizontal orientation to true North that it had in London. Firmly rooted in the context of the urban landscape, Wilson’s work takes the familiar and forms new and unusual experiences. For this exhibition, the gallery’s architecture and that of Wilson’s own domestic space is turned inside out and wrapped around itself. The viewer is disorientated as the external is made internal and the often overlooked parts of the buildings become central to our focus.
Richard Wilson is a world-renowned British artist whose architectural interventions have won him acclaim throughout his career. Wilson rose to prominence in 1987 when his installation, 20:50 - consisting of a room filled to waist height with reflective sump oil - was shown at Matt's Gallery in London and purchased by The Saatchi Gallery. Wilson has gone on to create a series of predominantly site-specific works, most recently Slipstream (2014), which stands at an impressive 78 meters at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2. Wilson was appointed visiting research professor at the University of East London in 2004, elected as a member of the Royal Academy in 2006 and in 2008 was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Middlesex. He has created permanent and temporary works at prominent locations worldwide and his works have been shown at institutions such as The Serpentine Gallery, London; Saatchi Gallery, London; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona.