Thursday, 27 August 2009

Richard Long

It is hard to describe Richard Long's work-it is much easier to experience it. He is an artist who uses the land and simple forms-lines, circles, spirals. His work is beautiful, calming and poetic.
It was strange to be in an indoor space seeing the exhibition but to feel so much like I was outdoors, in the wild places he explores and uses in his work. He records work in ways that are suited to it and the ideas it is about. His work is about being in the landscape and moving through it. He may take a photo, write a descriptive list or make a map. One of my favourite pieces of work was called 'Transference'. He took a three day walk on Dartmoor, listing some of the things he encountered. He then took a seven day walk on Chokai mountain in Japan where he experienced the same things in the same order-obviously-choosing to look for them in that order, but the fact that it is possible to do this showed the universality of places and experiences.

His work also relates to space, time and measurement and is almost a way of classifying experiences-through listing or focussing on a particular thing. For example he made a work called 'Dartmoor Time'-a continuous walk of 24 hours on Dartmoor. Two examples of Dartmoor time are

He makes books as a particular way to show his work and one of my favourite examples was a book containing only photos of pebbles on the beach he walked-one photo taken at regular intervals-they are all pebbles-single examples of the thousands on the beach and each in the book has its moment of exposure and importance. I just loved that idea.
Here are a couple of my favourite quotes from artist statements in the exhibition book
"My art is about working in the wide world, wherever. It has the themes of materials, ideas, movement, time. The beauty of objects, thoughts, places and actions. I hope to make images and ideas that resonate in the imagination, that mark the earth and the mind. My work is about my senses, my scale, my instinct. I use the world as I find it, passing through by design and chance."

"Of course, an important aspect of my work is just the pleasure of doing it, for me a walk is a great thing to do. It can feel like being outside the normal difficulties of life. Sometimes on a walk I can feel intensely alive or free or unencumbered or simply happy. Basically a road walk is walking all day and sleeping all night, and in hindsight the time of the walk seems to have passed very quickly as an almost out of life experience. I love the simple pleasures of eating, getting fit or finding a new campsite or B&B each night. I realise all this might be outside the experience or interest of a lot of people, which is fair enough" (I love that last little bit especially!)

I am almost tempted to go and see the exhibition again I enjoyed it so much!


Poetikat said...

Sarah, this was so well articulated. I really enjoyed getting to know about the artist and his methods. I'm intrigued by his notion of time in relation to a particular place.
Really good.


Linda and her Twaddle said...

I thought the photos of what he has done were fantastic. His work seems very instinctive and full of feeling. Sort of a creative merging and sensing of what is around. I always enjoy reading about what drives an artist. Understanding is part of the pleasure of experiencing art itself.

Chris said...

I find his work really interesting, and the photography itself is stunning. Thanks for sharing!

Allegra Smith said...

Oh dear, I just feel as if I was there with you. I wish it were true. Thank you for allowing me to see his work through your eyes and your words. A lovely friendship gift and I am truly grateful.

Tracy said...

What a fantastic critique of the exhibit, too us there! I find his work intriguing too--very emotive in subtle ways that make it powerful, his use of handling time and space engaging and exciting. Oh, by the way--LOVE the new banner at the top--that cupcake edge is tempting... ;o) Happy weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

Sonia ;) said...


oxox S

Sarah said...

I wish you had all been there with me!

parallel-botany said...

"walking as art"

wow, I love this guy! When walking on pathways in fields and wooded areas, I sometimes wonder about how they came to be. Who made them? When?

I really like this piece, "A Line the Same Length as a Straight Walk from the Bottom to the Top of Silbury Hill"