London Art@Site Richard Serra Fulcrum

Richard Serra



Octagon, Liverpool Street Station
until you enter the artwork
Long steel plates lean against each other. The interface between the shelves is small and the equilibrium is unstable. When only one falls, the damage is done.
Even with this precarious balance, I don't see nervous people around me. Apparently, people can focus on their day to day operations and exclude what is not directly concerning.
It’s another to enter the Fulcrum by Richard Serra. Between the plates there is a deep and narrow access. The sun is drawing lines and surfaces on the boards and lets a shadows fall in between the sheets. The nurves I miss on the outside, are the stronger on the inside. Apparently, I have consciously focused on the artwork and I let the artwork influence my emotions.
Unnoticed I say something what can be all cases: people are able to have their feelings upon the ‘other’ regulated or tolerated.
By Theo,

totdat je het kunstwerk binnengaat
Lange stalen platen staan tegen elkaar aan geleund. De raakvlakken tussen de planken zijn smal en het evenwicht is wankel. Er hoeft maar één van hen te vallen of het leed is geschied.
Zelfs bij dit precaire evenwicht zie ik geen zenuwachtige mensen om mij heen. Blijkbaar kunnen mensen zich focussen op hun dagelijkse activiteiten en iets buitensluiten wat hun niet direct aangaat.
Iets anders is om Fulcrum van Richard Serra binnen te gaan. Tussen de platen bevindt zich een hoge en smalle toegang. De zon tekent lijnen en vlakken op de planken en laat een schaduw vallen tussen de planken. De zenuwen die ik mis aan de buitenkant, zijn des te sterker aan de binnenkant. Blijkbaar heb ik mij nu bewust gericht tot het kunstwerk en laat ik mijn emoties beïnvloeden door het kunstwerk.
Ongemerkt zeg ik iets wat zich eenvoudig laat veralgemeniseren: mensen kunnen hun gevoelens bij het ‘andere’ reguleren door afstand te houden of door toe te laten.
Door Theo,
Richard Serra is an American artist with an enormous global reputation, yet his equally huge sculptures continue to arouse controversy. This, the artist maintains, is precisely their point _ they must engage with their viewers and surroundings. The Fulcrum (balance) is assembled from Cor_Ten steel, which weathers into intriguing textures without compromising its structural integrity. Commissioned to create a large piece for the cramped site, Serra's response was to design upwards, creating a kind of enclosed sanctuary that makes a powerful gesture of protectiveness towards its immediate environment. It would be hard to imagine the Octagon area without this magnificent work.
At first glance Serra’s works seem massive and beyond human scale and comprehension. But spend some time with them and they soon become welcoming and interactive. This is sculpture that invites a punch and a whack with the flat of your hand.
At around 55 feet high, Fulcrum creates an incredible visual illusion, luring viewers into the belief that the five sheets of self-weathering COR-TEN steel are simply propped against each other. This feat of cutting, propping and stacking material is at the very heart of Serra's oeuvre, emphasising the process and the materials employed to fabricate his sculptures.
Interaction too plays a key role, with Serra maintaining that his works have no subject of her their own, rather that viewers become the subject once they enter the work and interact with it. Therefore, this enclosed sanctuary has three entrances, inviting us to step inside, move around, look up and perhaps indulge in a moment or two of sky gazing. Why not take a look next time you are passing on the way into the station?
Richard Serra enjoys an enormous global reputation and is celebrated for creating ground breaking pieces from large sheets of metal, affording fabricated steel the power and density traditionally belonging to bronze and stone. Born in San Francisco, he studied at the University of California (Berkeley and Santa Barbara) between 1957 and 1961, followed by studies at Yale School of Art and Architecture in New Haven from 1961 to 1964. Numerous exhibitions and installations of his work have been held internationally and, recently, a retrospective exhibition of his sculpture was staged at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art during 2010, touring to San Francisco and Houston during 2012.
Richard Serra (born November 2, 1938) is an American artist involved in the Process Art Movement. He lives and works in Tribeca, New York and on the North Fork, Long Island.
Around 1970, Serra shifted his activities outdoors, focusing on large-scale site-specific sculpture. Serra often constructs site-specific installations, frequently on a scale that dwarfs the observer. His site-specific works challenge viewers' perception of their bodies in relation to interior spaces and landscapes, and his work often encourages movement in and around his sculptures. Most famous is the "Torqued Ellipse" series, which began in 1996 as single elliptical forms inspired by the soaring space of the early 17th century Baroque church San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome. Made of huge steel plates bent into circular sculptures with open tops, they rotate upward as they lean in or out.
Serra usually begins a sculpture by making a small maquette (or model) from flat plates at an inch-to-foot ratio: a 40-foot piece will start as a 40-inch model. He often makes these models in lead as it is "very malleable and easy to rework continuously." He then consults a structural engineer, who specifies how the piece should be made to retain its balance and stability. The steel pieces are fabricated in Wetzlar, Germany. The steel he uses takes about 8–10 years to develop its characteristic dark, even patina of rust. Once the surface is fully oxidized, the color will remain relatively stable over the piece's life.
Serra's first larger commissions were mostly realized outside the United States. Shift (1970–72) consists of six walls of concrete zigzag across a grassy hillside in King City, Ontario. Spin Out (1972–73), a trio of steel plates facing one another, is situated on the grounds of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands (Schunnemunk Fork (1991), a work similar to that of his in the Netherlands can be found in Storm King Art Center in Upstate New York.) Part of a series works involving round steelplates, Elevation Circles: In and Out (1972–77) was installed at Schlosspark Haus Weitmar in Bochum, Germany.
For documenta VI (1977), Serra designed Terminal, four 41-foot-tall trapezoids that form a tower, situated in front of the main exhibition venue. After long negotiations, accompanied by violent protests, Terminal was purchased by the city of Bochum and finally installed at the city's train station in 1979. Carnegie (1984–85), a 39-foot-high vertical shaft outside the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, received high praise. Similar sculptures, like Fulcrum (1987), Axis (1989), and Torque (1992), were later installed in London's Broadgate, at Kunsthalle Bielefeld, and at Saarland University, respectively. Initially located in the French town of Puteaux,Slat (1985) consists of five steel plates - four trapezoidal and one rectangular - each one roughly 12 feet wide and 40 feet tall, that lean on one another to form a tall, angular tepee. Already in 1989 vandalism and graffiti prompted that town's mayor to remove it, and only in December 2008, after almost 20 years in storage, Slat was re-anchored in La Défense. Because of its weight, officials chose to ground it in a traffic island behind the Grande Arche.
In 1979, Wright's Triangle was installed on Western Washington University's campus, as an addition to the Western Washington University Public Sculpture Collection. The triangular shaped piece was installed at an intersection of three paths that run through the middle of the campus. Its placement and structure allows viewers to walk around and through the piece, hopefully presenting ideas of confrontation, separation, and union.
In 1981, Serra installed Tilted Arc, a 3.5 meter high arc of steel in the Federal Plaza in New York City. There was controversy over the installation from day one, largely from workers in the buildings surrounding the plaza who complained that the steel wall obstructed passage through the plaza. A public hearing in 1985 voted that the work should be moved, but Serra argued the sculpture was site specific and could not be placed anywhere else. Serra famously issued an often-quoted statement regarding the nature of site-specific art when he said, "To remove the work is to destroy it." Eventually on March 15, 1989, the sculpture was dismantled by federal workers and consigned to a New York warehouse. In 1999, they were moved to a storage space in Maryland. William Gaddis satirized these events in his 1994 novel A Frolic of His Own.
Serra continues to produce large-scale steel structures for sites throughout the world, and has become particularly renowned for his monumental arcs, spirals, and ellipses, which engage the viewer in an altered experience of space. In particular, he has explored the effects of torqued forms in a series of single and double-torqued ellipses. He was invited to create a number of artworks in France: Philibert et Marguerite in the cloister of the Musée de Brou at Bourg-en-Bresse (1985); Threats of Hell (1990) at the CAPC (Centre d'arts plastiques contemporains de Bordeaux) in Bordeaux; Octagon for Saint Eloi (1991) in the village of Chagny in Burgundy; and Elevations for L'Allée de la Mormaire in Grosrouvre (1993). Alongside those works, Serra designed a series of forged pieces including Two Forged Rounds for Buster Keaton (1991); Snake Eyes and Boxcars (1990-1993), six pairs of forged hyper-dense Cor-Ten steel blocks; Ali-Frazier (2001), two forged blocks of weatherproof steel; and Santa Fe Depot (2006).
In 2000, he installed Charlie Brown, a 60-foot-tall sculpture in atrium of the new Gap Inc. headquarters in San Francisco. Working with spheroid and toroid sections for the first time, Betwixt the Torus and the Sphere (2001) and Union of the Torus and the Sphere (2001) introduced entirely new shapes into Serra's sculptural vocabulary. Wake (2003) was installed at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, with its five pairs of forms measuring 14 feet high, 48 feet long and six feet wide apiece. Each of these five closed volumes is composed of two toruses, with the profile of a solid, vertically flattened S.
Named for the late Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. (1913-1993), the rolled-steel elliptical sculpture Joe (2000) is the first in Serra's series of "Torqued Spirals".It is, The 42.5-ton piece T.E.U.C.L.A., another part of the "Torqued Ellipse" series and Serra's first public sculpture in Southern California, was installed in 2006 in the plaza of UCLA's Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center. That same year, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa installed Serra's Connector, a 66-foot-tall towering sculpture on its plaza.
Another famous work of Serra's is the mammoth sculpture Snake, a trio of sinuous steel sheets creating a curving path, permanently located in the largest gallery of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In 2005, the museum mounted an exhibition of more of Serra's work, incorporating Snake into a collection entitled The Matter of Time. The whole work consists of eight sculptures measuring between 12 and 14 feet in height and weighing from 44 to 276 tons. Already in 1982-84, he had installed the permanent work La palmera in the Plaça de la Palmera in Barcelona. He has not always fared so well in Spain, however; also in 2005, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid announced that the 38-tonne sculpture Equal-Parallel/Guernica-Bengasi (1986) had been "mislaid". In 2008, a duplicate copy was made by the artist and displayed in Madrid.
In spring 2005, Serra returned to San Francisco to install his first public work, Ballast (2004), in that city (previous negotiations for a commission fell through) – two 50-foot steel plates in the main open space of the new University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) campus.
In 2008, Serra showed his installation Promenade, a series of five colossal steel sheets placed at 100-foot intervals through in the Grand Palais as part of the Monumenta exhibition; each sheet weighed 75 tons and was 17 meters in height. Serra was the second artist, after Anselm Kiefer, to be invited to fill the 13,500 m² nave of the Grand Palais with works created specially for the event.
In December 2011, Serra unveiled his sculpture 7 in Doha, Qatar. The sculpture, located at the plaza in Doha harbour, is composed of seven steel sheets and is 80-foot high. The sculpture was commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority. In March 2014, Serra's East-West/West-East, a site-specific sculpture located at a remote desert location stretching more than a half-mile through Qatar's Brouq nature reserve, was unveiled. In 2015, the sculptor's monumental work Equal, composed of eight blocks of steel and exhibited that year at David Zwirner in New York, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art.
In the past Serra has dedicated work to Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Buster Keaton, the German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder and the art critic David Sylvester.