Richard Long

(Bristol, 1945)

A Circle in Huesca, 1994
Maladeta, Huesca

Curator: Gloria Moure

Richard Long Catalogue: Gloria Moure Richard Long: Spanish Stones. Diputación de Huesca, 1998.

Long: Spanish Stones. Diputación de Huesca, 1998.

Richard Long’s art falls within the land art tradition. Since the middle of the 1960s, he has integrated and updated the English landscape culture of the 18th century through his love of walks and solitary excursions in the countryside.

One of the first works of this artist, a classmate of Jan Dibbets, Gilbert & Georges and Barry Flanagan at St Martin’s School of Art in London, was A Line Made by Walking (1967). This early work established what was to become an identifying feature of his work: an intimate relationship with nature at the human scale based on individual interventions. Long won the Turner Prize in 1989.

 

The best method for defining the work of Richard Long is that derived from the physical action of walking, stripping away everything superfluous. His work is not based on the idea of causing changes in the landscape: he simply leaves his footprint, a sign, which helps express the order of the world. On his extended walks, Long measures the landscape with his steps, becomes aware of his surroundings, and recognises himself. In the course of these contemplative rambles, the artist sometimes stops to leave behind some sign made of clay, water, stone or wood. The choice of specific form (circle, line, spiral…) reflects his intuitive response to the configuration of a felt space.

Chus Tudelilla, ‘Arte y Naturaleza’, Cimal, Arte Internacional, 59 (1999) p 38. 

You could say that my work is also a balance between the patterns of nature and the formalism of human, abstract ideas like lines and circles. It is where my human characteristics meet the natural forces and patterns of the world, and that is really the kind of subject of my work.

Richard Long. Interview with Richard Cork in Richard Long: Walking in Circles, Hayward Gallery (London: South Bank Centre, 1991).

The how, when and where of his material interventions – when they exist, given that sometimes the path he follows is itself the form created – are generally unplanned and the result of pure intuition, as one would expect in an interactive process. According to Long, the creation of these works can hardly be described as a decision. He simply has a feeling that a certain place is right to give expression to a particular idea, and the signs he creates are made possible by the chance proximity of stony patches or other residual material supplied by nature. The place, the route and the moment thus become intrinsically bound together.

Gloria Moure, Richard Long: Spanish Stones (Polígrafa: Barcelona, 1999), p 30.

 

LONG 1

 

LONG 3

 

How to get to A Circle in Huesca:

Coordinates Hospital de Benasque: Latitude 42º 39’ 49,08’’ N. Longitude 0º 36’ 29,73’’ E