Richard Long

31 Mar

Richard Long

Long often brings natural materials into the gallery, in this instance red slate from the border of Vermont and New York State. Typically, he places these in simple, geometric configurations that emphasise the particular characteristics and resonance of the material. Long has stated: ‘A circle outdoors focuses our attention on the environment it is in, while indoors the circle and materials demand the attention.’

English sculptor, photographer and painter. Within a year of his departure from St Martin’s, Long was closely associated with the emergence of a new art form, Land art, having already produced such works as A Line Made by Walking (1967; London, Tate), a photograph of the trail left in the grass by walking back and forth in a straight line.

Long made his international reputation during the 1970s with sculptures made as the result of epic walks, sometimes lasting many days, to remote parts of the world. Guided by a great respect for nature and by the formal structure of basic shapes, especially circles, he never allowed facile exotic connotations to intrude into his work, although some of his sculptures evoked the mysterious connotations of ancient stone circles and other such monuments. Different modes of presentation, sometimes combined, were used to bring his experience of nature back into the museum or gallery. From 1981 he also alluded to the terms of painting by applying mud in a very liquid state by hand to a wall in similar configurations, establishing a dialogue between the primal gesture of the hand-print and the formal elegance of its display. He stressed that the meaning of his work lay in the visibility of his actions rather than in the representation of a particular landscape.

Long represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and was the recipient of the Turner Prize, awarded by the Tate Gallery in London, in 1989.

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