Richard Wilson was born in London. He studied at Hornsey College of Art, London, 1971-74, and Reading University, 1974-76. He participated in the DAAD Artists’ Programme, Berlin in 1992.
Wilson works with existing architecture, creating interventions within a space or actual building. He has used walls, windows, caravans, greenhouses and swimming pools to transform the context and physical aspect of a space. His best known work, 20:50, 1987, where the space used becomes a container for a lake of sump oil, has come to epitomise installation art in Britain. Although the site specific nature of much of Wilson’s work has often meant that all that is physically left of an installation are the photographs, studies and models, 20:50 has been shown in different venues and seemingly adapts itself to each space. It was one of two works shown in his major museum show in the United States at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1994. The other work, Deep End, consisting of a fibreglass hull of a swimming pool with a 60 foot pipe climbing up through the gallery roof, was created in response to the venue and the city of Los Angeles. A major sculptural intervention, Over Easy, commissioned for Arc, a new arts venue in the town of Stockton-on-Tees in the north-east of England was inaugurated in 1999. Other permanently sited works inlude: Slice of Reality, a vertical section taken from a 600 ton sand dredger commissioned for the Millenium Dome New Sculpture Project, London, completed in 2000, and Set North for Japan 74? 33’ 2? , a skeletal representation of his own house in London made in painted steel and set at the same angle of elevation in Niigata Prefecture, western Japan, also completed in 2000.
Wilson had his first solo exhibition at Coracle Press Gallery, London. He exhibited regularly at Matt's Gallery in London from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s, where some of his best known installations were first seen. He represented Britain at the XX Sao Paulo Bienal in 1989 and he had a major solo exhibition, Jamming Gears, at the Serpentine Gallery in 1996. His work is included in public and private collections in Europe, the United States, Japan and Australia. Wilson lives and works in London.
Richard Wilson: Deep End, an interview with Paul Schimmel, The British Council / The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1995
Andrew Wilson: Richard Wilson: Jamming Gears, Serpentine Gallery, London, 1996
Michael Archer, Simon Morrisey, Harry Stocks: Richard Wilson, Merrell Publishing, London, 2001