Lisson Gallery

This page is extracted from Richard Long's 1972 publication, which was the first book published by Lisson Gallery. Stills of the landscape are accompanied by descriptions, bringing to life Long's intimate encounters with nature. Through the medium of walking, time and distance became new subjects for his work and they are recorded with photographs, maps and text works, where measurements of time and distance, place names and phenomena are vocabulary for both original ideas and powerful, condensed narratives. The book traces Long's journey, capturing and recording his markings and imprints on the land. The following year, Long held his inaugural solo exhibition at Lisson (January – February) where he exhibited the work 204 Somerset beach stones in 17 lines of 12 stones.

Nicholas Serota writing about Long in 1990, notes that: "In each of his works there is the simplicity of form achieved by an economy of means. ‘Rigour’ is the word which most aptly describes both the state of mind and the commitment involved in walking through wild terrain or in collecting stones. Though it is intimately bound with nature and natural rhythms, his art never describes, or even evokes nature as such, but serves to heighten our understanding of our own place within the universe. Long reminds us that we are not simply observers but, working with or against the grain, we are ourselves participants in the natural order.

Each work may be executed at a particular moment but it also carries echoes of man’s place on the planet through the ages. His art makes us acutely aware of time; the time spent in its making, in the gathering of material, in the duration of a walk, in the evolution of the weather, or indeed the time which his mark may remain on the surface of the earth until it is obliterated by animals, natural growth or the elements."

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