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  • Writer's pictureBeyond the Canvas

In memory of Richard Serra (1938-2024)

"When you look at my works, you don't remember an object. There remains an experience, a passage." - Richard Serra

Serra revolutionized sculpture forging solidly sinuous site-specific monumental structures, using industrial materials such as steel and lead. His work, scattered and celebrated globally, challenged and altered not just our perception of space and time, but also the way we interact with sculpture now he had made it accessible to us by doing away with pedestals. Importantly, his work could be touched and thus experienced viscerally.

My first encounter with Serra at MOMA some 20 years ago elicited a strong emotional response, a mix of unbridled enthusiasm and comfortable disorientation. The same thing happened again at the Guggenheim in Bilbao many years later. It is impossible not to gravitate towards Serra's towering sculptures, there is something profoundly intimidating yet alluring about their shape, texture and scale. When did rust suddenly become so attractive? Once inside them, I felt alone but also part of something, and I found myself lost in the purest sense, never wanting to be found, which for me is as close to the definition of engagement as it gets.

Installation view of the exhibition "Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years" at MOMA, 2007

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