Feats of engineering and derring-do
This article is from 2008.
A man burrows his way out of the back of a black hackney cab that’s still in motion, looking like he’s tunnelled his way out of Wonderland to avoid paying his fare. The same hole-in-the-wall gang appears to have turned the brutalist façade of an office block into a revolving door cum roller-coaster ride. A crushed-up metal cube is bent back into its former aeroplane shape like a giant Airfix kit. A firework released from the back of a container ricochets through deserted warehouses before hitting home to ignite a miniature cityscape.
Such are Richard Wilson’s post-industrial construction-kit concerns, displayed in four films outlining the above interventions. Drawings of the actual actions alongside a couple of Meccano-driven miniatures are more film treatment archives for the main event. The only full-scale model is ‘Hot Dog Roll,’ a sculpted caravan which has been beaten back into star-shaped life.
The films are beautifully shot, from Wilson getting down and dirty in the taxi for ‘Meter’s Running,’ the time-lapse unfolding of the ‘plane in ‘Butterfly’ and the upside-down views of Liverpool in ‘Turning The Place Over.’ Best of all is ‘Break Neck Speed’, which, taking full advantage of its Japanese setting in much the same way as the Grey Gallery’s own ramshackle interior is used, makes for an unoccupied kamikaze Noh play. Set to a soundtrack that sees Wilson get back to his roots as founder of the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, as shots in the dark go, this one’s faster than a speeding bullet.
Grey Gallery, 10 Old Broughton (off Barony Street) 00 44 7910 359 086, until 31 Aug, 11am–6pm, free.