There was a time when environmentalism wasn’t really talked about, except in relation to a few dishevelled and clearsighted hippies sporting yellow badges with the slogan “Nuclear Power? No Thanks”.
There was a time when housewives didn’t worry about the oceans, unless it involved what bikini to wear to the beach, whilst dreaming of a nice vacuum cleaner and a bigger fridge.
There was a time when artists, from Warhol to Arman, worked with accumulations of consumer items to tell the story of a flourishing economy.
This was the late 1960s, and meanwhile a slim man with deep blue eyes and bushy eyebrows was thinking purely about walking and contemplating, we could even say embracing nature. Like a sort of modern-day Jean-Jacques Rousseau, this man, Richard Long, transforms his peregrinations into works of art.
Walking as art
In 2000 he would say: “My intention was to make a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art. Each walk followed the itinerary I had determined, which was precise, unique, and for a specific reason, different from other categories of walking like travel, for example. Each walk, although by definition non-conceptual, implemented a particular idea.”
On his walks, Richard Long might gather natural elements that he transforms into a trace-work of art.
No Land Art
Likewise when he reaches his destination. Don’t say that he practices Land Art; he sees Land Art as an American phenomenon linked to monumentality.
There is a natural power within his work which resembles total harmony or a kind of spirituality.
You have to experience it to understand it. The German fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh recently said that he would never look at a wall in the same way after seeing Richard Long’s wall made from earth and clay.
In France, his monument (not sure if he’d like us to use that word) can be viewed as a permanent fixture on the top floor of the CAPC in Bordeaux.
I met him at Cochin in India while he was on his way back from Jaipur, where he’d created an installation as part of the Madhavendra Palace Sculpture Park, curated by Peter Nagy.
Richard Long is not an easy man to approach.
He is someone who likes to say no.
I met him, we then saw each other again and spent a long time admiring a fabulous video installation by William Kentridge (see the report on the Kochi Biennale).
6 answers in 1minute
Afterwards the artist, who likes to take his time, played the game of six questions at one minute each.
Richard Long, free spirit.
You have just finished a project in Jaipur. Could you tell us about it?
You were talking about green art before everybody else. Now all artists are talking about nature. What do you think of that?
Could you tell us about the power of walking?
Do you like the term “Land Art”?
What is your next dream?
What would you like people to remember about you?
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