Richard Serra is famed for his literally colossal works. In the ‘70s he began working with the large steel plates that became his trademark. He used industrial processes and then placed the plates in a space in such a way that visitors experienced them differently. Serra’s gigantic sculptures, which he often made for a specific architectural, urban or rural environment, can be found everywhere, from Iceland to New Zealand.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Archive
The exhibition “ Drawings 2015-2017” is the first public presentation of the Richard Serra’s most recent drawings. The exhibition consists of more 80 works, from smaller to large-scale drawings, including works from the “Ramble drawings” (2015), “Composites” (2016), and “Rifts” (2011-17). For this exhibition, Richard Serra has exclusively executed the series “Rotterdam Horizontals” (2016-17) and “Rotterdam Verticals” (2016-17) that are shown for the first time, as well as a number of private sketchbooks never exhibited before. Constantly searching for new expressive languages, Serra has created many series of drawings that, while independent of his sculptures, correspond to the founding elements of his sculptural language: time, process, and materiality. While there is an obvious relationship to his drawings as works in two-dimensions, Serra considers his prints to be distinct for their specific relation to the mechanical process. He has described drawing specifically for printmaking and how it inevitably transforms the work: “Oftentimes the spontaneity of the line is lost, or the ink will mottle or blot a form that was unintended. To understand the medium, I think you have to draw specifically for it…”. The exhibition provides a way to rethink our collective understanding of the medium of drawing, to take account of its potential to act on space and on the physical presence of the viewer. The works presented in this exhibition depart radically from his previous drawings: they are intimate, direct and executed with an economy of means, and as such, reveal a characteristic to Serra’s output that is unknown to many. “Richard Serra: Drawings 2015-2017” attempts to reveal the breadth of Serra’s current practice. It also considers the depth of his work’s relationship to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where “Waxing Arcs” (1980) has invited visitors to reckon with the Museum’s architecture, the place of sculpture there, and the physicality of the very process of experiencing art. In expanding on these questions, the works in the exhibition constitute a critical reevaluation of the role and possibilities of drawing.
Info: Curator: Francesco Stocchi, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Museumpark 18-20, Rotterdam, Duration: 24/6-24/9/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Sun 11:00-17:00, www.boijmans.nl