Installation view of Richard Wilson's 20:50 (1987) at Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery 2018. Photo: Mark Blower
For his installation 20:50 (1987) – first presented at Matt’s Gallery in 1987 – Wilson has flooded one of Hayward’s upper galleries with engine oil, leaving only a narrow passageway through the centre. The surface of the dark, dense substance mirrors the space above it and creates for the viewer the vertiginous impression of being suspended within a curiously doubled and seemingly infinite environment.
‘We all have preconceptions about architectural space, about rooms, about buildings – whether they’re galleries or museums or not’, Wilson has said, ‘– and if you can do something that unsettles those preconceptions, you can generate a whole new way of understanding your place in the world.’