Bexhill's De La Warr Pavilion is delighted to announce that Eddie Izzard, Honorary Patron of DLWP, is the principal sponsor of its most daring and ambitious artist’s commission yet – the recreation of the final scene of the film The Italian Job. Artist Richard Wilson will balance a full-sized replica coach, from the roof of this iconic building which will provide a jaw-dropping spectacle for thousands of visitors this summer.
Opening to the public on 7 July 2012, Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got A Great Idea… is part of the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June and running until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
Eddie Izzard says: “2012 is the year the Olympics & Paralympic Games return to the United Kingdom and I think this is a perfect time to hang a large bus off the edge of a building in a seaside town. As a huge fan of the classic film The Italian Job, I am proud to be the Principal Sponsor of artist Richard Wilson’s Hang On A Minute Lads…. By the end of 2012 I would hope that the word goes out from our country that not only do we run excellent world events, but also we balance coaches on the edges of buildings like no one else ever could”.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, says: “With an amazing programme like the London2012 Festival, I am not allowed to have favourites, but if I were allowed, this commission would be a favourite. It says everything about the world class ambition and innovation of the UK’s great artists and arts centres, and as well as being brilliant, it has a quirky humour that is Great as well as British”.
The title of the work is taken from the final words in the film spoken by Michael Caine, when the coach, climbing the Italian Alps and carrying a gang of robbers and a fortune in gold, swerves off the road and teeters precariously over the edge of the mountain. With the gang at one end and the gold at the other, the film finishes with an impossible dilemma – how can they save the gold, themselves and the coach from falling over the edge? The Italian Job, its British stars, the use of the Mini as the get-away car, the song “We Are The Self-Preservation Society” and the predicament of the final scene have all contributed to film becoming a national treasure. Hang On A Minute Lads… embraces all those quintessential British cultural references, including its sense of humour and, as such, is the perfect way to demonstrate the excellence of current British creativity and artistic practice.
Richard Wilson’s fascination with this dilemma echoes many of his previous works where the concept of the ‘what if’ is brought to reality. Defying formal notions of architecture and engineering he brings thought- provoking and sometimes gravity-defying spectacle to the public, Key works include 20:50 (1987), an installation using waste oil heralded as “one of the masterpieces of the modern age” by the Guardian, Turning the Place Over (2008) a Liverpool Capital of Culture commission where a large disc was sawn out of the façade of a building and slowly turned over, and Slice of Reality (2000) – a section of ship moored near the Millennium Dome, cut vertically to show its cross-section. His most recent commission will be Slipstream for Heathrow’s new Terminal 2. These works are beautiful; spectacular in their high precision engineering and conceptual brilliance.
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 building’s edges and that they were just as important as the sum of the surfaces. Producing this cinematic moment as a sculpture was not just about a structural daring but more a metaphor about the absolute limits of anything, being engaging. Being a red white & blue coach makes it a flag waving work for the Olympics”.
Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got A Great Idea… is generously supported by Eddie Izzard, the Arts Council England Grants For The Arts via the National Lottery and The Henry Moore Foundation.
Published 4th September 2012
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