Richard Serra

Drawings for the Courtauld

Barnaby Wright

Richard Serra

Barnaby Wright

Distributed for Paul Holberton Publishing

48 pages | 8 1/4 x 8 1/4
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9781907372643 Will Publish January 1900 For sale in North America only
Richard Serra is one of the most important and revered artists working today. Rising to prominence on the New York art scene more than forty years ago, Serra (born 1939) is now celebrated internationally for his unprecedented monumental steel sculptures and for his radical approach to drawing. Richard Serra: Drawings for the Courtauld accompanies the first museum exhibition of Serra’s most recent drawings, which mark an exciting new departure for the artist. Made using thick black pigment applied to both sides of a clear plastic sheet, these drawings, which he calls ‘transparencies’, are extraordinary objects that challenge preconceptions of what constitutes a drawing. For Serra, drawing has always been an essential way of exploring new creative impulses, materials and working methods. His consistent ambition has been to make discoveries through the process of drawing itself, rather than to execute preconceived ideas. To this end, about two years ago Serra developed the innovative technique by which his ‘Drawings for the Courtauld’ are made. The forms that emerge are monumental: spiraling, circular or rectangular, they convey a sculptural sense of weight and balance. They also confront basic assumptions about drawing. Our perceptions of front and back, surface and depth, and most importantly the distinction between the drawn design and the material it is made from, are all challenged by these works. Serra has long admired The Courtauld Gallery’s collection and it is particularly fitting that these radical new works should be shown for the ?rst time at a museum with such a renowned and rich historical collection of drawings. But it is one of the Courtauld’s great paintings, Cézanne’s Still Life with Plaster Cupid, c. 1894, which has been a major touchstone for Serra throughout his career. The way Cézanne pushed the boundaries of perspective and space in the painting threw down a challenge for the young Serra that continues to drive him. “I looked at that painting and the hair on the back of my neck stood up,” Serra recalled recently. “You realize that someone has extended their vision in such a way that if you are going to make any contribution at all, you have to break new ground.” Serra’s ‘Drawings for the Courtauld’ are the latest expression of this lifelong pursuit.
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