Art@Site Richard Serra Intersection Basel

Richard Serra



Serra let’s us experience space
I don't know how your things are going, but when I see an artpiece by Richard Serra I walk upon it. I don't make at first an in-depth analysis of the shapes, sizes, colors and so on.
I walk in between two plates, and know what I feel only after it’s permeated to me. The steel slabs which tend to another give me stress and a sense of constriction. The blades which create space and bow from each other, makes me see more and more air and light, leaving me with ease and joy. The panels which curve with each other, make me tensioned because the end point is out of my sight.
Richard Serra wants us to experience different sorts of spaces with Intersection, in my opinion. Serra does this with limited means (four panels). The scale is that big, that we cannot escape it. Although Intersection is strict and formal, it is very interesting and joyful to walk through and along it.
By Theo,

Serra laat ons ruimten ervaren
Ik weet het niet hoe het u vergaat, maar als ik een kunstwerk van Richard Serra zie stap ik daar op af. Dan maak ik niet eerst een uitgebreide analyse van vormen, kleuren en dergelijke.
Ik loop tussen twee platen door en weet pas wanneer ik iets voel nadat het tot mij doorgedrongen is. Bij de stalen schijven die naar elkaar neigen voel ik beklemming en onrust. Bij de bladen die ruimte maken en van elkaar af buigen, zie ik steeds meer lucht en licht waardoor ik lichtheid en vrolijkheid voel. Bij de platen die met elkaar mee buigen voel ik spanning doordat het eindpunt buiten mijn zicht ligt.
Met Intersection wil Richard Serra ons verschillende ruimten laten ervaren, volgens mij. Dit doet Serra door gebruik te maken van weinig middelen (vier stalen platen). De schaal is dermate groot, dat wij niet kunnen ontsnappen. Hoewel Intersection een strenge en formele indruk maakt, is het interessant en plezierig om erdoor en er langs te lopen.
By Theo,
Bei zweien der vier Platten liegt die gedachte Kegelspitze oben, bei zweien unten. Das Auge nimmt hingegen - aufgrund der Neigung - je die äusseren und die inneren beiden Platten als Einheit wahr. Durch die verschiedenen Öffnungswinkel enstehen drei Zwischenräume, die beim Begehen ganz unterschiedliche Eindrücke hinterlassen: mal beklemmend, mal erhebend, mal "beschützt".
Richard Serra, *1939 San Francisco.
Intersection, 1992.
Vier identische Kegelausschnitte, 12.4m bzw. 13m lang (entlang der Kreissehne), 3.7m hoch, 5.4cm dick.
Standort: Theaterplatz. Eigentümer: Öffentliche Kunstsammlungen Basel
lightly younger than the Minimalist artists, Serra has intensified a quality of their work—a heightening of the viewer's physical self-awareness in relation to the art object. In early works of Serra's, heavy metal slabs stood in precarious balance; any close look at them was a charged affair. Intersection II, similarly, sensitizes its visitors, inviting them under and between its massive walls—which, they will find, exert an enormous psychic pressure.
That pressure arises from the weight, height, and leaning angles of the walls, and from their variously dark and rusted surfaces. It is tempered by the elegant precision of their lines and the satisfying logic of their arrangement. The slopes and placements of the great steel curves produce two outer spaces that invert each other at floor and ceiling, one being wide where the other is narrow. Meanwhile the central space is a regular yet biased ellipse. Whether these spaces are experienced as intimate or threateningly claustrophobic, what Serra has said of his earlier work applies: "The viewer in part became the subject matter of the work, not the object. His perception of the piece resided in his movement through the piece, [which] became more involved with anticipation, memory, and time, and walking and looking, rather than just looking at a sculpture the way one looks at a painting."
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.