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Alison Wilding RA, Stealth 2

Stealth 2, 2001

Alison Wilding RA (b. 1948)

RA Collection: Art

Stealth 2, a small sculpture made from steel attached to Japanese paper, is, like many of Alison Wilding’s works, intended to be exhibited on a wall. The sculptor has long divided her activity between works wall- and floor-based works, accepting that the two orientations are receptive to different forms of activity.

As the title of the work (and perhaps also its placement) suggests, Stealth 2 physically resembles the stealth aircraft made since the 1970s, whose flat panels (facets) make radar detection difficult. Such aircraft are designed in order to be hard to detect—it is ironic therefore that they appear to have inspired Wilding’s sculpture.

Stealth 2, and the similar Stealth, were both exhibited in the 2001 Summer Exhibition. They were installed in Gallery VIII, the sculpture gallery, which was hung by Richard Deacon that year. Deacon hung the works alone and high up on the wall, and explained ‘I think Alison makes the wall very active. If you start putting other things on it as well, it kills that use of the wall as a space’. This remark illustrates how despite the small physical size of many of Wilding’s wall-based sculptures, they activate the space around them in a way that has an impact belying their small stature.

Stealth 2 was presented by Wilding as her Diploma Work after her election as an Academician in 1999, and as such it represents the artist in the RA Collection. It is difficult, however, to claim that one of Wilding’s works is more representative than any other, such is the diversity of her output. This is particularly the case when it comes to her materials—as the artist has said, ‘I like stuff, and not particular materials’.

Object details

Stealth 2
Object type
Copyright owner
Machined mild steel and ink on japanese paper

190 mm x 210 mm x 50 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Diploma Work given by Alison Wilding RA accepted 4 March 2008
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