Anniversary Edition of Rijksmuseum Gardens Exhibition Celebrates Work of Richard Long

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Anniversary Edition of Rijksmuseum Gardens Exhibition Celebrates Work of Richard Long

Richard Long in the Rijksmuseum Gardens is the 10th edition in this series of free outdoor sculpture exhibitions. The previous exhibitions in the Rijksmuseum Gardens were devoted to the work of Henry Moore (2013), Alexander Calder (2014), Joan Miró (2015), Giuseppe Penone (2016), Jean Dubuffet (2017), Eduardo Chillida (2018), Louise Bourgeois (2019), Ellsworth Kelly (2021) and Barbara Hepworth (2022).

The world is Richard Long’s studio, and walking is central to his art. He walks to delineate time and space, tracing the contours of the landscapes he traverses. It was in this way that Long created many of his works: discreet interventions in the natural world made on journeys in varied and often inhospitable places. These apparently simple on-site interventions are sculptures, fashioned by walking a particular route or arranging stones, twigs, or other materials available in nature. Often, they conceptually refer to natural or cosmic phenomena of time, space, motion and scale. In some cases, the potent universal forms of his works evoke symbols from ancient civilisations.

Richard Long made his iconic A Line Made by Walking in 1967. This work took the form of a straight line in tall grass created by repeatedly walking back and forth across it. Four of the sculptures Richard Long has made for this Rijksmuseum exhibition echo that kind of work. The artist achieved their abstract and elemental forms by mowing some sections while allowing others to grow. As the summer progresses, the contrast between them will gradually heighten, accentuated by the intensification of natural light and shadow. Then, with the passing of time, the artworks will be absorbed into their surroundings, and finally disappear. As is the case for much of Long’s work, photographs or textworks will be the only tangible record of their existence.  

In addition to the works in grass, Long has made two sculptures in the gardens from boulders carried by the river Maas to its estuary at the North Sea. The exhibition is completed by two large-scale stone works located inside the Rijksmuseum. In the Great Hall, River of Stones, 2023 made of red-coloured Indian stones will meander across the floor mosaic designed by the building’s architect Pierre Cuypers. This work is a variation on one that Long made in 2021 in Jaipur, India. The floor at the heart of the Atrium, meanwhile, will be the setting for Black White Blue Purple Circle, a work of coloured stones from 1998, that will be clearly viewable from above.

Richard Long had his first solo exhibition in 1968, at the celebrated Konrad Fischer Galerie in Düsseldorf, Germany. In the years since, he has built up an internationally outstanding body of work, winning the prestigious Turner Prize in 1989. In the Netherlands, his work is to be found in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Van Abbemuseum, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Kröller-Müller Museum and Museum De Pont.  

Image : Richard Long, Nepal 1983, Courtesy of the artist


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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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