June 10, 2016 / Trey
Richard Serra at the Gagosian
MNA explores Richard Serra at the Gagosian Galleries in Chelsea.
The office took a trip to the Gagosian Galleries in Chelsea to check out Richard Serra’s recent installments. His work is being featured at both the West 24th Street and West 21st Street galleries.
These exhibitions showcased Serra’s masterful sculptural skill in minimalist abstraction. His work tampers with the fundamentals of gravity, plays with your sense of space. Each installation is just as impressive as the last and each creates a totally new and unique spatial experience.
The installments in the W 24th St gallery vary in experience, each holding their own unique presence. The largest space featured a series of 16 freestanding slabs of various heights. What was intriguing about this piece was the endless discoveries and views when traversing through and around the piece. At times you felt lost in a maze of steel, and at others you could catch a glimpse of a passerby. The size and weight of each slab was apparent, however the sculpture also seemed fragile, as if one little push would create a domino effect, toppling each slab. One of the most polarizing pieces was “Silence (for John Cage)”. The 29-foot-long slab lies on the floor, eerily still. It is in this piece that the true scale and weight of Serra’s work is visible. Contrasting with the bright white gallery walls, the slab commands your attention. Perhaps the most unsettling aspect is the stillness and silence of the piece. It isn’t wild, curved, and flamboyant like some of Serra’s other works, but it is just as loud of a statement. Serra’s work has an undeniably raw quality that is harsh, yet beautiful; uneasy, yet balanced. It inspires to create work that breaks the status quo, and creates totally new and unique experiences.
His single installation in the West 21st Street gallery, named “NJ-1”, creates a sense of claustrophobia and vertigo with its slanted walls either falling away or towards you. Surveying only the exterior of the sculpture, you encounter a slanted orange mass - seemingly solid - that looks as if it will fall at any moment. Continuing around the piece eventually leads you to an opening that corrals you into the sculpture. This is when you lose your sense of space, time, and gravity, as walls seem to fall away and toward you, compressing and expanding, allowing varying amounts of light into the space. When you finally exit the sculpture, you appreciate not only the size of the sculpture, but Serra’s complete control over the medium.
*All photos were taken by our summer intern, Trey. @trey_two_one