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11 July 2012
By Michael Holland
Richard Wilson R.A. thinks big. Very big. If he’s not flooding rooms with sump oil, he’s carving out whole sections of buildings to spin them round on their head. He has cut the middle section out of a ship to use as office and drawing space while everyone who walks past it at Greenwich can enjoy it as a fabulous artwork. He thinks big and works big.
His latest commission was from the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill who wanted something for their rooftop gallery. So, with a whole roof to play with the Bermondsey artist came up with the idea of recreating the final scene of the classic film, The Italian Job, where the gold bullion is at one end and the robbers at the other end of a coach that is teetering on the edge of a precipice. The film ends with Michael Caine uttering the immortal line: ‘Hang on a minute, lads, I’ve got a great idea,’ which has become the title of this work.
It looks quite spectacular hanging over the edge of such an iconic building, and probably quite terrifying for people who turn into the road unaware it is a piece of art. The full size scale model coach has been created from various woods and metals and coated in fibreglass for weatherproofing, and has had to be safely anchored to cope with the strong winds off the Bexhill coastline. Wilson says that the actual engineering aspect to make the coach teeter was easy, but making it safe was difficult.
To add to the whole 60s feel of the opening the same model coach from the film – a Harrington Legionnaire – was hired to bring friends and reviewers from SE London to Bexhill, and it arrived in glorious sunshine to glorious applause.
After rooftop speeches from Richard and various dignitaries there was a live link from Eddie Izzard in Hollywood who has helped to sponsor the work. There have been mixed views from the locals, but that would be the same reaction from anywhere when street art is involved, though the general consensus from all art lovers is that it is a lot of fun and nicely executed. The fantastic De La War Pavilion has become the perfect plinth to the art.
‘Hang on a minute, lads, I’ve got a great idea’ will bring crowds flocking to Bexhill throughout the summer, though beyond that is anyone’s guess. The work is up for sale and Richard Wilson hopes someone will buy it to go on the roof of their company so that all can enjoy it in the future.
De La Warr Pavilion,
Bexhill-on-Sea until October 1st
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