Paintstick on paper
Dimensions: Diptych: 212 x 399 cm
Reference: ACF0503
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Richard Serra produced his first large black drawings after making two sculptures, Strike (1969–1971) and Circuit (1972). In an interview conducted by Lizzie Borden in 1977 and notes published a decade later (two years before he made Crosby), the artist provides extensive information about the conceptual basis of the work and his approach to drawing. For him drawing is never a sketch for a sculpture; it is a medium for reflecting and for reaching conclusions after a drawing is completed. He uses almost exclusively canvases treated with glue and plaster, which he prepares in the studio and cuts and draws definitively in the ‘specific place’ where they are to be seen. If he uses line it is understood as a cut. The large black surfaces—black is the only colour he uses because he regards it as ‘a property, not a quality’—have characteristics that relate them, in a different register, to sculpture, even though they never create any illusion of three-dimensionality: ‘This preoccupation with site and context was paralleled in drawing, in that my drawings began to take on a place within the space of the wall. […] By the nature of their weight, shape, location, flatness, and delineation along their edges, the black canvases enabled me to define spaces within a given architectural enclosure.’ As he told Lizzie Borden, ‘Drawing is a way for me to carry on an interior monologue with the making as I’m making it.’ He has also said, ‘Drawing is a way of seeing into your own nature. Nothing more. […] There is no way to make a drawing—there is only drawing.’

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