Richard Serra, Horizontal Reversal

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From November 24, 2018 until february 23, 2019 at the art gallery La Caja Negra, the ten drawing series Horizontal Reversals, by Richard Serra will be on display. This series created by Serra draws from his sculpture Equal-Parallel: Guernica-Bengasi, which is on display in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. About this, the artist tells us: “My engravings are mainly studies made after a sculpture is finished. They are the result of trying to evaluate and define what surprises me in a sculpture, that which I couldn’t have understood before the sculpture was finished. They allow me to understand different aspects of perception as well as the structural potential of a sculpture.”

Horizontal Reversal or Vertical Reversal?

This series investigates the dynamic relationship between the two paper sheets that form each piece and the mass of black painted in between or around them, achieving the maximum expression with minimal means. In each drawing the black and white stripes compensate each other in different ways, from left to right and in a reciprocal form.

With these compositions of proportional “inversion” between the white paper and the black paintstick, Serra explores the notions of weight, consistency, volume, balance, attraction and repulsion, light and darkness, emptiness and painting. In this way, Serra manages to translate to drawing the concept of dimension and gravity in the same way he does with his sculptures, endowing the the drawing’s two dimensions with sculpture like values, conveying a three-dimensional feeling.

Richard Serra and Black and White

The sculptor (San Francisco, 1939), winner of the 2010 Prince of Asturias Arts Award, talks to us about his work: “Black is a property, not a quality,” he states. “In terms of weight, black is heavier, creates a larger volume, holds itself in a more compressed field. It’s comparable to forging (…). The use of black is the most clear way to make something stand up against a white background (…). It’s also the most decisive way to walk without creating associated meanings (…). The use of any other color would be the extension of cromatism with it’s inevitable allusions to nature (…). I’m interested in the mechanization of the graphic procedure, not in the illusionist’s pictoric gesture.”

Through black and white, Serra manages to project in paper a three dimensional space, reducing everything to light and darkness. The magnetism that emanates from his work resides in the fact that it looks like the forces and balances contained in nature exist within the work itself.

The Drawing as an Interpretative, Speculative, and Culminating Operation

It’s a paradoxical thing that a sculptor should culminate their sculpting process by drawing; drawing in two dimensions, because maybe it could be considered that a sculptor is already “drawing” when it comes to the sculpture’s three-dimensional space. Drawing, then, picks up and constitutes what has been left to be completely freed or expressed from what was contained in the actual sculpture. This potential granted to drawing –as an added and specific role given to the capacity to draw– of thing that can expand the field of perception is not new, but it does stand out, because drawing is no longer recognized as a preparative operation, but as an interpretative, speculative and culminating one.

That a sculptor has to draw to free and complete what is perceived in his sculpture, adds itself up to those who know that drawing is a field open to art, and maybe a supreme one too. And I celebrate saying this here, as an homage to my masters Javier Seguí de la Riva and Antonio Verd, from who so many of us learned so much.

Exhibition: Serra. Horizontal Reversal. On display at the art gallery La Caja Negra from 24 November, 2018 until 23 February, 2019

Photography: Oscar Rivilla

Music: Dr. Symptosizer

Makeup and Hair: Jose Sande

Art Director: Carolina Verd

Main picture: black jacket by Our Legacy, tulle Noir Kei Ninomiya dress by Commes des Garçons, boots by Balenciaga

Second picture: coat by Maison Margela, cashmere neck by Cos, balloon skirt by Acne, boots by Chanel

Third picture: coat by Sybilla, trousers by Commes des Garçons, black snake leather boots by Dr Martens

Fourth picture: black wool dress by Ann Demeule Meester, hood by Moncler