The monumental sheets of steel - set up both indoors and outdoors - influence one’s experience of scale and space and defy all notions of gravity. Together with other Minimal and Land Artists, Serra thoroughly changed the appearance and, more especially, the content of contemporary sculpture.
At the heart of this exhibition is the 1973 sculpture ‘Equal Parallel and Right Angle Elevations’. It comprises two pairs of solid steel sheets with a total weight of about 7 tons. They are set up in a particular arrangement with regard to the space they are in (parallel and forming a right angle). Their thickness and relatively limited height give them the appearance of low walls that determine the route taken in the room. The work generates an extraordinary physical experience of the transformed space and sharpens the awareness of the subject in this physical and mental space. In addition to this the exhibition shows a broad selection of Serra’s graphic work done between 1972 and 1999. Serra has created an impressive body of work on paper. He uses familiar printing techniques such as silk-screen, lithography, aquatint and etching, but his work is anything but traditional. He transcends the serial nature of printed work by means of limited editions and by almost giving each print an identity of its own. Their large size, the exceptional tactility of the ink and the manual manipulations mean the works on paper refer more to his sculptural work than to what one traditionally expects of prints. Serra regards his printed work to be an essential complement to the formation of the concepts for his three-dimensional work. Both provide evidence of the artist’s own individual poetry. On occasions the huge black areas give the impression of dropping out of the frame, sinking into the ground, of having a weight that the support, the paper, can barely withstand. Serra knows better than anyone how to create a mental symbiosis between robustness and weight on the one hand and sensitivity and lightness on the other.More about Richard Serra