Richard Serra - High Vertical
Paintstick on Belgian linen. 336.5 x 101.5 cm. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age as well as minimally cockled horizontally. Tacked to wooden transport support.
Since 1971 Richard Serra has been creating not only impressive steel sculptures but also large-format works on canvas which the artist unconventionally refers to as "Wall Drawings". Commenting on the special quality of these works, the art critic Yve-Alain Bois says: "Let us start with the series of paradoxes they open, the first being that of their denomination as 'drawing', a category they seem on first glance to contradict on at least three counts: 1) They are “drawn” with paintstick on canvas, the traditional support of painting; 2) the surface of the canvas is entirely filled by colour (here black) without remnant, this lack of reserved space constituting an essential definition of painting from Alberti up to Cézanne (who radically undermined it); and 3) tacked on the wall, these drawings are generally of an overwhelming size, in direct response to the architectural spaces which house them, a feature one would sooner expect in a fresco than in a medium of drawing. In short, they seem to fulfil the conditions of painting. Yet Serra's insistence on their denomination as drawings is absolutely significant. To read his black drawings on canvas as paintings would be to encapsulate them within the modernist tradition of the pure monochrome, initiated by Rodchenko, and it is partly to resist such an assimilation that Serra sticks to the paradoxical name. Serra's black is not a darker version of I.K.B. [International Klein Blue].” (Yve-Alain Bois, Beschreibungen, Situationen, Echos: Über Richard Serras Zeichnungen, in: Hans Janssen, Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht (ed.), Richard Serra, Drawings, Zeichnungen 1969-1990, Bern (not dated), p.32/33).
Janssen/Rapmund 113 (not illus.)
With verbal confirmation from the Richard Serra Studio, New York, on 12.04.2013.
Clara Weyergraf Collection, Bochum; Blum Helman Gallery, New York; Saatchi Collection, London; Gagosian Gallery, New York; Private Collection, Germany
Götz Adriani, Hans Albert Peters et al. (ed.), Richard Serra, Arbeiten 66-77, Works 66-77, exh.cat. Kunsthalle Tübingen, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Stuttgart 1978, p.264, no.264
Peter Schjeldahl (ed.), Art of our Time, The Saatchi Collection, Vol. 1, London 1984, no.116 with ill.
Amsterdam 1977/1978 (Stedelijk Museum), Richard Serra (label verso)