Richard Long, the four-times Turner Prize nominee and one-time winner (1989) has been knighted in the New Year’s honours list. Other Visual arts-related honours announced include the Gallerists Jane Hamlyn (Frith Street Gallery and Hamlyn Foundation) and Victoria Miro (Victoria Miro Gallery).
“In the nature of things, art is about mobility, lightness and freedom” – Richard Long
Richard has been in the vanguard of conceptual and land art in Britain since he created A Line Made by Walking in 1967, while still a student. This photograph of the path left by his feet in the grass, a fixed line of movement, established a precedent that art could be a journey. Through this medium of walking, time and distance became new subjects for his work. From that time he expanded his walks to wilderness regions all over the world. He mediates his experience of these places, from mountains through to deserts, shorelines, grasslands, rivers and snowscapes, according to archetypal geometric marks and shapes, made by his footsteps alone or gathered from the materials of the place. These walks and temporary works of passage are recorded with photographs, maps and text works, where measurements of time and distance, place names and phenomena are vocabularies for both original ideas and powerful, condensed narratives.
Sir Richard Long was born in Bristol, the UK in 1945, where he continues to live and work. He studied at West of England College of Art, Bristol (1962–65), then St Martin’s School of Art, London (1966–68). In 1969, Long was included in a seminal exhibition of Minimalist and Conceptual works entitled ‘When Attitude Becomes Form’ at the Kunsthalle Bern for which he made a walk in the Alps that was documented by his first text work. Developing from his early mud and clay floor sculptures, in the 1980s Long began making new types of mud works with handprints applied directly to the wall. He also continued to make large sculptures of lines and circles from slate, driftwood, footprints or stone, often sourced from quarries near the exhibition sites.
Major solo exhibitions include CAC Malaga, Spain (2016), Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2015), Faena Art Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2010), Tate Britain, London, UK (2009), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK (2007), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, USA (2006), National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan (1996), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1994) and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA (1986). Long represented Britain at the 37th Venice Biennale, Italy (1976) and won the Turner Prize in 1989. He received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture (1990), has been elected to the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2001), was awarded Japan’s Praemium Imperiale in the field of sculpture (2009). In 2013 he was awarded a CBE.
Last Summer he created site-specific works for the EARTH SKY exhibition at Haughton Hall Norfolk. His use of a variety of materials, including local carr stone, flint from Castle Acre, trees from the Estate and Cornish slate, and accompany the permanent Long sculpture, Full Moon Circle, which was commissioned for Houghton in 2003. Mud paintings in the colonnades and smaller-scale works in gallery spaces, as well as historic material relate to the artist’s career. EARTH SKY curated by Lorcan O’Neill was in association with the artist,was accompanied by a specially-produced catalogue.
Top Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2017