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Richard Wilson

A Slice of Reality, 2000

Sliced vertical section of a sand dredger 21.34 x 10.6 x 8.84m

Standing permanently on the foreshore of the Thames, this sculpture is a 1/8th slice of what was originally the Arco Trent, an ocean-going sand dredger. British artist Richard Wilson, who is known for his architectural interventions, acquired the Arco Trent and carved a vertical section of the ship, intentionally exposing the living quarters and engine room – both visually and to the elements. It was commissioned as part of the North Meadow Sculpture Project in celebration of the millennium. Much like the Millennium Dome (The O2), the sliced ship is almost completely defined by its visible interior. Wilson describes the work as a ‘sound bite’, communicating Greenwich’s rich maritime history, whilst referencing the manner in which the line of the Meridian slices through the Greenwich Peninsula.

Commissioned as part of the millennium celebrations by The New Millennium Experience Company.

Courtesy the artist


Richard Wilson (b. 1953, London) completed his Foundation at the London College of Printing, studied at Hornsey College of Art (1971-74) and gained an MFA from the University of Reading (1974). He makes sculptures, drawings, prints and performances and is internationally celebrated for his interventions in architectural space.

Wilson has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. His seminal work 20:50 – a room of reflective oil – was first presented at Matt’s Gallery in 1987 and was then permanently installed at the Saatchi Gallery (it was more recently exhibited in the Hayward Gallery’s exhibition, Shape Shifters in 2018). Major projects include Hang on a Minute Lads, I’ve got a Great Idea (De La Warr Pavilion, 2012 and Turin, 2019 – fifty years after the release of the film that inspired it, The Italian Job), Turning the Place Over (Liverpool, 2008) and Slipstream for Heathrow’s Terminal 2. Wilson has represented Britain in the Sydney, São Paulo, and Venice Aperto Biennials, he has been nominated for the Turner Prize on two occasions and he was elected a Royal Academician in 2006.

1. Matt Cuzner
2. Vassilis Skopelitis

Locations nearby

Uber Boat by Thames Clipper9 minutes0.4 miles
North Greenwich12 minutes0.6 miles
Emirates Air Line12 minutes0.6 miles
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