Richard Wilson

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Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea model at the Royal Academy of Arts

"..this famous scene from the 1969 crime caper is to be recreated by artist Richard Wilson, on the rooftop of one of the south coast's most beautiful buildings: the modernist De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea...rapidly becoming one of the most exciting arts spaces in Britain" The Guardian (Arts Diary) read more

The De La Warr Pavilion is pleased to announce its 2012 Rooftop Commission by artist, Richard Wilson.

Based upon the iconic final scene of the 1969 film The Italian Job, in which a coach containing gold bullion and a gang of robbers hovers precariously over a cliff, Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got a Great Idea expands this myth and spectacle on the rooftop of an equally iconic building.

The title of the work is taken from the final sentence of the film, spoken by actor Michael Caine as he attempts to devise a method of saving both gold and his fellow conspirators from tipping into a steep alpine valley.  Theories as to how such a predicament could be solved has given rise to ongoing debate for over forty years. As the camera pans away from the treacherous scene, we hear the throng of male voices singing "We are the Self Preservation Society", a song closely associated with the England football team of the time which, alongside the film’s use of the Minis as get-away cars, contributes to The Italian Job's status as a classic, seminal British film.

Richard Wilson’s fascination with this subject echoes the artist’s previous works where the concept of the ‘what if’ is brought to reality, often defying formal notions of architecture and engineering, bringing thought-provoking, gravity-defying and on occasion, humorous spectacles to life. Key works include 20:50 (1987), a waist-deep installation of oil, was heralded as “one of the masterpieces of the modern age” by the Guardian, Turning the Place Over (2007), a Liverpool Year of Culture commission and Slice of Reality (2000), a section of ship moored near the Millennium Dome, cut vertically to show its cross-section. These works are beautiful; spectacular in their high precision engineering and conceptual brilliance.

Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea is part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

The model of the sculpture was on display at the Royal Academy of Arts until recently.

Alan Haydon, Director says:
“We have been in conversation with Richard for some years discussing ideas and opportunities for him to create something unique for the De La Warr Pavilion. When we opened the rooftop as a project space last year with Antony Gormley’s Critical Mass we were keen to maintain a programme of high quality commissions by  some of this country’s leading artists. Richard’s proposal was simply irresistible and will most certainly create debate around our artistic ambitions whilst giving our visitors a new experience and perspective. As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival the work will  demonstrate to visitors the excellence of  current British creativity and artistic practice.”

Richard Wilson says:
“Being offered the second rooftop commission was a great challenge. I wanted the building to be part of the work and viewing the coastal horizon made me aware of the buildings edges and that they were just as important as the sum of the surfaces. Producing a cinematic moment that can become a sculpture was not just about a structural daring but more a metaphor about the absolute limits of anything, being engaging.”

Richard Wilson has exhibited nationally and internationally for over thirty years and has made major museum exhibitions and public works in countries as diverse as Japan, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Australia, China and numerous countries throughout Europe. Wilson has also represented Britain in the Sydney, Sao Paulo, Venice Biennials and Yokohama Triennal, was nominated for the Turner Prize on two occasions and was awarded the prestigious DAAD residency in Berlin 1992-3. He was one of a small number of artists invited to create a major public work for The Millennium Dome and the only British artist invited to participate in Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000.

Wilson was appointed Visiting Research Professor at the University of East London in 2004  and made a Royal Academician in 2006.

For further press information, please contact Sally Ann Lycett on 01424 229137 or

Tue 1 May 2012-
Sat 1 Sep 2012

Tickets: Free entry

Booking & Information:
01424 229 111
A rooftop commission as part of the Cultural Olympiad finale.
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