How do we experience movement ?
The American artist Richard Serra challenges our perception of physical spaces through four gigantic steel works installed at Gagosian Gallery, London. Entereing in Ramble, Serra’s game of compression and circulation suddenly begins. The irregular metal slabs that compose the installation force the wanderer to take a slow path while confusing his sense of direction through false horizons and collapsed distances. Lost in the cold labyrinth, he forgets of the surrounding exhibition spaces to grasp the raw beauty of the steel’s textures, which the casting process made similar to primordial slime molds. While walking around, the logic of the placement and sizes of the slabs can be sensed by the visitor, although never fully understood. Backdoor Pipeline sits in the gallery’s back room. The visual impact of the curving tunnel made of weathered steel is incredibly strong. Like the mouth of a whale or the door of a gothic church, the imposing arched entrance draws the visitors into the darkness. Within the tunnel, light and shadow interact with the complex geometry of the structure creating mesmerizing effects. In London Cross two massive steel slabs run one above the other in an X shape. By dividing the room in two, they form a dead end that obstructs the normal passage across the space. The ceiling seems lowered and one could feel the weight of the steel pressing against the head. The power of tension, characteristic of Serra’s works, reaches its peak in Dead Load, the work dedicated to the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa. Two blocks of solid steel are overlapped in a rectangular shape. Despite their heaviness, they seem to lightly touch each other, like two big irregular stones. As always, Richard Serra’s art provokes a reconfiguration of our traditional spatial experiences, leaving room for new intriguing discoveries.
Gravity owns us. Feel the weight