Catalan Circle
Original title: Cercle català
Besalú marble
Dimensions: Ø 740 cm
Reference: ACF0282
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This large sculpture was done in Besalú marble and was a commission Richard Long received on the occasion of the exhibition Entre l’objecte i la imatge. Escultura britànica contemporània at the Centre Cultural de la Fundació “la Caixa” in Barcelona in June and July 1986. The work, in the shape of a circular crown, hints at the influence of Minimalism in the way it uses basic geometrical shapes and sets up an intimate dialogue with the architecture around it. He began it at a moment when sculpture was starting to expand its own physical boundaries and the artist’s action became process and work at the same time. In such a context, Long wanted to grasp nature actively: walking in it, travelling through it, acting on it, leaving his own tracks, but also collecting materials which he could use later for his sculptures. That was how he carried out the commission for the exhibition: for Cercle català he used marble from the town of Besalú. Simple forms, such as the line or the circle, are not only formal resolutions for his sculptures with their evident Minimalist echoes; he keeps to them when making some of his journeys through the landscape. Those journeys then become something like a ritual, in his personal way of grasping space from a space-time experience which he has lived in his own body. That is why all his work is closely related to travel, be it to do the interventions in situ and then collect them in photographs or to discover new natural materials which enable him to establish strong ties with the context for which his work is designed. Those circles, rectangles, lines and spirals constructed by Long with a range of natural materials become symbolic representations of his interventions on that same landscape and take on a similar meaning to Robert Smithson’s non-sites, for which he shifted natural elements and placed them in metal containers that he then showed at conventional art spaces. For Long, nature is the main source of his work; the act of walking, as the time element it is, becomes the medium for carrying out his ideas, and the natural materials are the ones that enable him to give form to his sculptures. He uses stones because, as he himself admits, they are practical, common, they are to be found almost everywhere in the world, they are easy to pick up and transport, they are unique, universal and natural; and he has chosen the circle because it is timeless, universal, understandable and easy to make, and because he is particularly interested in the emotional power of simple images.

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