Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Space-Time - Richard Long


Image taken from richardlong.org - One Hour, a six minute circle walk on Dartmoor 1984

Currently there is a large Richard Long exhibition on at the Tate Britain in London with the “Heaven and Earth“ exhibition until 06 of September 2009. It is the first large exhibition of the British artist in eighteen years. The exhibition features sculptures, large scale mud wall works and old and new photographic and text works. Also important to mention is the addition room with a large collection of his books, where some real jewels of publication can be seen.
Why featuring a landscape artist on the blog in the context of rhythms and movement? There are several reasons ranging from aspects of time, use of space and movement to aspects of mapping and visualization. On the Tate Britain website the work is introduced and traced back to Long’s love of nature and environmental experience.
A lot of his works are temporal, maybe most of them. While working with the landscape obviously the method of documenting the work becomes central. Especially in Long’s work as a lot of his landscape works derive from the interaction of body and landscape or the reaction of the artist to the landscape. The methods he uses to document this interaction range from taking a picture of his interventions to mapping his activities. His installations of large scale stone circles and mud wall drawings can also be seen in the context of documenting. Long brings elements of the nature into the exhibition spaces being totally aware of the transformation related to context.
The aspect of time plays a major role in all works but is particularly present in the photographs that document works he as produced/performed in remote places, like for example ”a line made by walking“.
Long appears in most of his works as the actor and a driven personality. It seems like he just can’t stop doing this. Particularly in his works of walks he is restless and eager to move. Also here the time plays a major role as a defining element, maybe even a tool to stop Long from simply keep on walking. Works such as “One Hour - a sixty minute walk on Darthmoor“ or “A five day walk”.
The mapping of his walks covers a number of additional topics including the aspect of space and space limitation. The geometry of the circle is Longs main element and features in his sculptures, installations, but also his walks as confining or excluding boundaries. In a sense some of his maps can be read as a different type of space-time diagrams.

Image taken from richardlong.org - A Line Made by Walking, England 1967