Cliffhanger at the De La Warr

Richard Wilson installation at the De La Warr, Bexhill-on-Sea

A coach hangs precariously over a cliff edge, the gang at one end, the gold bullion at the other, its weight pushing them further over, but do they risk saving the gold or themselves by jumping to safety. Anyone who’s seen The Italian Job (original starring Michael Caine) will remember their dilemma in an ending which always had me frustrated, wanting the film to resolve itself one way or the other, but like the Richard Wilson artwork that’s exactly the idea.

The 1967 film was a flag waving romp with a bunch of our lads taking on Europe in a spectacular heist at a time when England, the world cup champions, still had a heavy car industry churning out the Mini, Jaguar and the Aston Martin. Now set in a recession weary Britain the coach seems well placed, looking over the channel to Europe where much of our economic future will be decided. The economy hangs in the balance and it’s anybody’s guess which way we’re going.

Richard Wilson’s intention is that the captured cinematic moment acts as a metaphor about the absolute limits of anything, an engaging moment. As a part of the London 2012 Festival the concept is brilliant, and the replica bus does rock backwards and forwards as in the film, but the massive supporting girders take away any sense of real danger. Standing any closer than from the car park, and the coach seems roughly made with no real attention to detail with silver painted panels instead of windows and roughly painted body work, but then maybe that’s the idea at a time when England has lost some of it’s shine.

Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got A Great Idea… by Richard Wilson can be viewed at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea until 14 October 2012. For more information, check out the De La Warr Pavilion website.

Image courtesy of Tony Foster

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About Tony Foster

As a professional painter Tony Foster has established a reputation as a mural artist, portrait and figure painter. Working in a variety of styles and media he has a knack of bringing any brief to life, a trait honed back in his advertising days. After recently graduating with a Masters in Fine Art, his time is divided between his work as a practicing artist and teaching art and design at a Kent college. He also works on art projects with special needs students at the Canterbury Oast Trust. Recent commissions include murals and paintings for alpine ski chalets, character developments for an international branding consultant and interior canvasses for Stanley Spencer’s house in Cookham. For more details, check out
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