In 1994 we exhibited “Richard Serra: Weight and Measure Drawings”, a show featuring a series of large-scale paint-stick-on-hiromi-paper drawings by one of the most significant artists of the past century. Though widely recognized for his monumental and minimalist steel sculptures, for this show, Serra produced drawings that embraced the fragility of the medium with an almost geological heft.
This exhibition expanded the idea of how a series of drawings can reconfigure space, and how the force of such work can trigger a reconsideration of assumed notions of weight, mass, scale, and measure. The whole project originated from a viewing of at his installation at the Tate Gallery in London. Serra had positioned two differently proportioned blocks of steel in a classical traverse and, when looking down the length of it, it appeared as if one block floated above the other, yet still retained its weight. This seemed like a drawing problem for him, one that required work on paper and getting rid of pictoriality. Of the result, which was a series of black blocks on a white background, Serra said “I’m more interested in people experiencing these things than looking at them. I don’t really care if people go away remembering how the pieces were configured. I want them to go away with some kinesthetic equivalent of a hollow in your stomach”.
Richard Serra, Installation View
Richard Serra, Weight and Measure IX, 1994. Paint stick on hiromi paper, 143 ¾ inches x 80 1/8 inches
Richard Serra in his studio