Richard Serra’s latest exhibition contains new, characteristically robust, works
Weighing in at some 230 tonnes of steelwork, Richard Serra’s new works at the Gagosian Gallery are characteristically powerful and uncompromising, yet unexpectedly delicate as well.
In London Cross, one of three pieces specially made for the King’s Cross show, Serra pulls off an engineering tour de force by balancing – with the help of specially constructed new gallery walls that act as supports – a mighty great steel on its slender edge on top of another huge steel to make a cross. It feels slightly unsettling to walk beneath it, like tempting fate by walking under a ladder.
Backdoor Pipeline is both elegant and monumental, a 15.2m long double curved steel pipe resembling a strange, walk-through cocoon. Viewed externally, this tunnel is pleasingly bulbous on one side and sinuous on the other, its surface a vivid rusty hue as a result of several years’ exposure to the elements. It is displayed for the first time here; after the exhibition it will be go to weather further.
Another piece, Dead Load, explores contrasting textures by resting a weathered block of cast steel on top of a slightly smaller non-weathered piece. The fourth work is Ramble, a monumental maze-like piece consisting of 24 plate steel monoliths of varying dimensions, arranged to allow the viewer to wander around and through, yet tall enough to block out views over.
This enigmatic show, which took a full month to install, is accompanied by a display of Serra’s drawings at the Gagosian’s other London gallery on Davies Street.
Richard Serra – Backdoor Pipeline, Ramble, Dead Load, London Cross, until February 28, Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street, London. gagosian.com