For his first solo exhibition with Lisson Gallery in over three decades, Richard Long presents a new work made directly in the gallery, as well as other recent pieces made on walks in England, Switzerland and Antarctica. Having began his career with the gallery in the 1970s, Long comes full circle while continuing to investigate many of the themes that concerned him then – from the real and conceptual routes he traverses, to the existential notion of the solitary exploration of nature. An image of Long’s red tent, perched on the expanse of the Driscoll Glacier in 2012, depicts his continuing commitment to making art in the most remote and uninhabited corners of the world and represents his first trip to Antarctica. A sculpture of standing stones of Delabole slate from Cornwall will be accompanied by a new series of large, gestural mud works using white Cornish clay and tidal river mud gathered from the banks of the Avon in Bristol. These works are formed as much by natural forces – including gravity and the fluidity of the watery material – as they are by the human energy of Long’s body and hand.
In addition to bringing raw matter from outside into the galleries – asserting an alternately ancient and contemporary relationship to the land, redolent of prehistoric monuments and current environmental concerns alike – Long also brings the experience of his walks into the public domain through text and photography. The text work documenting his 240-mile, eight-day walk from Cornwall to Oxfordshire – taking in Dartmoor, the Dawlish cliffs and Cheddar Gorge – describes a walk in terms of geology, namely the five materials encountered along the way: SLATE GRANITE SANDSTONE LIMESTONE CHALK. One photo-work, entitled Romansch Stones (2013), provides the only remaining evidence of a stone circle made along a 16-day walk through the Engadine region of the Swiss Alps. Ultimately, Long seeks “A balance between the patterns of nature and the formalism of human, abstract ideas like lines and circles. It is where my human characteristics meet the natural forces and patterns of the world – that is sort of the subject of my work.” (1991)
Long is also the subject of the touring show: ‘Richard Long: Prints 1970-2013’ at New Art Gallery, Walsall (16 April–22 June) and an ARTIST ROOMS display, at Burton Art Gallery (4 October–10 January 2015). He is included in the group shows ‘Body & Void: Echoes of Moore in Contemporary Art’ at the Henry Moore Foundation (1 May–26 October) and ‘Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966-1979’ at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (until 15 June).