Artist Richard Long Finds Inspiration in Solitary Walks Through Remote Landscapes. Watch Him Make His Monumental Works Here

Take a virtual tour through the artist's Lisson Gallery exhibition.

Artist Richard Long at work. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.
Artist Richard Long at work. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

In our current era of social distancing, Richard Long’s work feels oddly prescient. For over half a century, the British conceptual artist has created art based on his solitary experiences journeying through remote landscapes from the West of England to Antarctica and Mongolia. 

Back in 1967, while he was still an art student in England, Long took a black-and-white photograph of a path he left behind him in a field of grass, and titled it A Line Made by Walking. The simple gesture and its image established that art could be a journey composed of time, space, distance, and movement. 

Installation view "Richard Long: From a Rolling Stone to Now", 2020. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Installation view “Richard Long: FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW”, 2020. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Since then, the artist has brought together these same conceptual elements with remnants of the earth itself in works such as stone sculptures arranged in concentric paths, and paintings made of mud smeared against walls by the artist’s bare hands. 

“FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW,” Long’s first exhibition with Lisson Gallery in New York, opened earlier this month, and is filled with sculptures, photographs, and a site-specific mud painting. The title for the exhibition comes from A Rolling Stone (2001), a photograph that depicts the marks made by a boulder as it rolled down a snow slope covered in volcanic ash. Long took the photo while on a 15-day walk in the Three Sisters Wilderness area of Oregon. 

Installation view "Richard Long: From a Rolling Stone to Now", 2020. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Installation view “Richard Long: FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW,” 2020. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Running the length of the gallery is a sculpture made of gray slate slabs sourced from quarries in Virginia. The work acts as both a beginning and an end, and represents the kind of work that is “one of the easiest things to make along a wilderness walk,” as the artist has said.

“My inside and outside sculptures are made in the same spirit,” Long has said. “The urban and rural worlds are mutually dependent, and they have equal significance in my work.”

To see the exhibition and Long at work, watch the video below.


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