Tea and A Slice of Reality was a rare opportunity to visit Richard Wilson’s impressive Millennium commission on the Greenwich Peninsula and discuss it with the sculptor in person and on site. With both candor and generosity, Wilson narrated Slice’s development: from sourcing, slicing and transporting the vessel from a shipping yard in the north of England, to its afterlife as kind of speak-easy with an uncertain future.
It was a grey and windy summer day that we travelled by Thames Clipper to the Greenwich Peninsula. Here we met Wilson and together enjoyed tea and cake served on bone china. Conversation soon turned to his transformation of an ocean-going sand dredger into an intriguing work of art that is technically high-reaching, experientially melancholy and increasingly charged with ongoing issues related to readymades and recycling in the face of global warming. A highpoint of our visit was climbing aboard Slice and touring the inside. From here we enjoyed spectacular views of the River Thames and contemplated the Peninsula’s extraordinary history as a hub of maritime trade.