Post #576 • July 8, 2005, 12:03 PM • 151 Comments
Jack brought by the Richard Serra interview from Modern Painters, which might as well stop calling itself that in its attempt to pull readership from the anything-goes magazines with its new anthing-goes approach.
Under discussion is Serra's installation at the Gug Bilbao. Me, I'm looking forward to seeing it one day. Serra described how these enormous pieces were inspired by the Zen gardens of Kyoto:
When I was living in Florence I was still involved with looking out the window, that kind of orthogonal, measured Renaissance view - particularly as I was studying Piero. But once I started looking at what the Chinese and Japanese had to offer, I entered into a different way of relating to space. It suggested ways of dealing with time and movement that are just not possible within the limitations of figurative painting or sculpture. ... In order to appreciate the Japanese Zen garden one has to slow down, which puts you into a state of suspended concentration. Whether the shadows in the furrows of the garden appear and disappear as the sun sets, or whether you walk along a porch and see a rock apear from behind another rock, there is something about the slowing down of perception and the comprehension of what you perceive. Placing the word 'meditation' on it is a little heavy, but for sure it's different from looking at some soup cans, not to take anything from Warhol.
Sounds like my kind of stuff. I protest earlier comments to the effect that the largeness is a gimmick to make up for a form that wouldn't work at a pedastal scale. Serra conceived these as huge from the beginning; suggesting that they wouldn't work small is like saying that your average Rothko wouldn't work if it was flourescent orange. Which is true, but not germane. Serra points out that the grouped forms, despite the undulations, are dead level. Even in reproduction the patinas are beautiful. They look promising.