The London Gagosian Gallery is currently hosting three of the large-scale steel art works by Richard Serra until the end of February 2017.
The main sculpture, “NJ-2″, is a 14-metre tall rusted steel installation while the other two , “Rotate” and “Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure” are solid steel slabs. To be honest I thought they were hollow blocks instead they weigh around 50 tons each!
What I love about Richard Serra’s work is that his sculptures are not only meant to be admired as an object but they also provide an experience. He shapes new spaces [and this is the perfect word to describe it, read it as its pure meaning taken from the dictionary. Space: a continuous area within which all things exist and move]. And he does it by rolling enormous weatherproof steel panels that end up being magnificent walk-through sculptures.
I hope you can get the feeling of what I mean from these few pictures I took at the Gagosian gallery. From within his “NJ-2″ sculpture looks and feels like a sort of cathedral or meditative space. [It reminds me a lot of a chapel in Switzerland I want to visit, the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor, just google it to have an idea].
Richard Serra creates a kind of art which is really close to architecture but at the same time so far away from it. One of the most important purposes of architecture is its function. Serra himself stated that “art is purposely useless” and there’s nothing more true than that. The space he creates in between his folded steel panels is never functional but it’s a space to contemplate art from the inside rather than the outside and experience its qualities of weight, gravity and light. I would never refer to Richard Serra as an architect.
This is the second time I’ve seen Richard Serra’s art works. The first time was in Bilbao, at the Guggenheim Museum in which an entire floor is filled with a permanent collection of his giant steel works. The Gagosian Gallery hosts only three pieces but they are really worth a visit and this gallery provides a perfect space for any art exhibition. It’s a cube space completely white and neutral that enhances and complements the art works exposed.
The exhibition is on until the 25 February so there’s plenty of time to go even more than once.
If you’re in London check even this
6-24 Britannia Street
London WC1X 9JD
RICHARD SERRA exhibition | OCTOBER 1, 2016 – FEBRUARY 25, 2017
All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo