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Muerto Richard Serra, Father of Simplicity

Muerto Richard Serra, Father of Simplicity

Get out of time. In an almost scandalous move, Richard Serra – Born November 2, 1938 in San Francisco He passed away on Tuesday, March 26, at his home on Long Island At 85 years old – he chose to do just that: step out of time.

Naturally, his itinerary was full of dialogues and exchanges with many fellow travelers. Some paragraphs of his adventure. While working in steel mills, he attended the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara (1957-1961), graduating in English Literature. He continued his training as a painter at Yale University (1961-1964). While at Yale, he collaborated with Josef Albers, whose logical style was not without flashes of playfulness. His knowledge of Guston, Rauschenberg, Reinhardt and Stella dates back to the early 1960s. In the same period, Serra undertook a major tour that took him to Paris, where he studied Brancusi's abstract solutions. Then in Italy, Spain and North Africa. The experiences covered in the first Plastic exercises Exhibited at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (1968).

Serra combines his sculptural practice with video incursions The cutting edge in nature. It was in 1970 when he installed his first site-specific work on 183rd Street in the Bronx. From that moment on, Serra's unmistakable style became established and was enshrined in important museums: among others, the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris (1984), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1986), the Reina Sofía in Madrid (1992). , Guggenheim New York (2007).

Not without critical simplifications, Serra—winner of the Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale in 2001—has been included in the mapping of American minimalism. The harmonies are deep. But above all, the differences are crucial. Like André Judd, Flavin, Loyt, and Stella, Serra believed that art was an analytical practice, seemingly impersonal, soulless: an autonomous and fixed system, immune from the “outside,” based on some elementary, limited, and fixed linguistic units. Devoid of connotative and semantic meanings. Determined to return the work to its essence, Serra never violated certain values: formal economy, simplicity, and rigor. It also deletes from its composition any pictorial, metaphorical or symbolic reference. The goal: to free sculpture from any mimetic restrictions, and to confirm its abstract power. He prefers blocks and compact geometric shapes (cubes, parallelepipeds), so he chooses to use heavy, monochromatic materials, untreated or painted, poorly reflective or poorly colored: steel, corten. It's the other side ofThe American dream Sung by pop art.

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But, oh lover of disbelief Sira has little in common with groups and trends, As guessed by Matthew Barney, from, in Cremaster 3He was cast in the role of Hiram Abiff, the architect of Solomon's Temple. We are facing a “very determined” artist, as Barbara Rose confirmed.

Without compromising at all with the system of art, fashion and marketing, far from the rituals of leisure civilization, he is guided by an anti-modernist call. Intense and radical, he tends to look beyond himself. He is not inclined to hide his secret ancient charm, With his Promethean gestures, he seems to want to revitalize the memory of one of the most famous Neolithic sites in the world: Stonehenge. An architecture of mind and body, completely open. An imposing circular group of megaliths surmounted by horizontal arches. Not just one of the masterpieces of archaeology, but a stone enigma. An exemplary work, which had an intimate influence on the imagination of many heroes of the art of the second half of the twentieth century. Prophets of social sculpture (Beuys), earth artists (Heiser, De Maria, Smithon, Long, Christo), the poor (Benoni), “new humanists” (Gormley). Indeed, an eccentric minimalist like Serra, also inspired by Mozarabic architecture, studied on a trip to Spain (in 1982), was appreciated for its volume, compactness of spaces and play of light.

In the footsteps of these art-historical echoes, anti-hermetic monuments were born. Which announces first and foremost the thrill of “doing big”. Serra builds on it, powered by instinctive, epic tension MagnitudeIt is not understood as a slogan devoid of any critical intent, but rather as a tool to overcome what is transient. A reaction to an era dominated by the ephemeral. A utopia of durability that frightens the observer.

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However, Even if it's driven by anxious nostalgia For the classical rules – harmony, balance, symmetry and order of coexistence – Serra wants to “twist the space”. Therefore, he imagines works governed by paradoxes, nuances, and opposites: solidity and elusiveness, heaviness and lightness, matter and lightness. These are “primary structures” that, just like the saws of Stonehenge, are not absorbed by context: they control and define the surrounding environment, displaying clear superiority.

These sculptures are neither static nor static. They are waiting to travel He lives. They ask for movements and explorations. They are like paradoxical quasi-films, shot without a camera: the viewer is invited to move, and is transformed into a camera ready to cut the scenes. In his eyes, concrete images do not flow immediately, but rather combinations of shapes, capable of evoking amazing visions. Twists, curves and ellipses, which generate confusion and anxiety. Remember the spiral temple installed in Naples, in Piazza Plebiscito, in 2004.

This is how a monolith is born Not much different from the one filmed by Stanley Kubrick in 2001: A space journey. Elusive and enchanting abstract giants, which seem to conjure the apocalyptic fears rampant in our time, made up of blind corners and wonders. Together, they suggest paths to turn back the clock.

Hence: out of time. “I have more to say about Mycenaean architecture And as far as the Incas are concerned, I have a lot to say about the weight of Olmec heads in ancient Mesoamerica,” Serra liked to repeat.