History of Our World

Drawings – Work Comes Out Of Work, Richard Serra

Posted in Art, Print by B on September 21, 2009

Out-Of-Round III
out-of-round III, 1999, paintstick on Hiromi paper.Out-Of-Round X
out-of-round X, 1999, paintstick on Hiromi paperOut-Of-Round XII

out-of-round XII, 1999, painstick on Hiromi paper.

“There is no way to make a drawing-there is only drawing”. Richard Serra, 1977.

Drawing is transformative. The English word “drawing” denotes pulling (as in “dragging”), and connotes revelation, unveiling, and uncovering: drawing a playing card or a pistol, for example. A “draw” is also a lottery, a process in which the participant must choose – without foreknowledge- from a number of possibilities, few of which will prove valuable. And there is also drawing as the extraction of something essential, such as water from a well or, more gruesomely, the viscera of a condemned man. Drawing is fundamental concept, an intimately connected with the raw terms of life as it is lived. Artists prize drawing not only for it’s inherent qualities, but also for its virtues as an impromptu, heuristic tool. Rapid and agile, drawing is easy to adjust, erase, supplant, emulate and if necessary – discard. It’s a fluid means of anticipation, often prior to translation into a more celebrated form. Painting and sculpture, giants both, stand on its more humble shoulders.

Paintstick: a type of waxy oil paint manufactured as a solid stick. It resembles an oversized crayon or crude drawing stylus; it’s an oil based pigment in the working form of chalk and graphite. Although paint stick is available in colours, Serra only uses black. Serra has devised an efficient way of applying paintstick over large areas, darkening a surface so thoroughly that it absorbs much of the available light in the room. He melts a number of individual sticks, then casts them into bricks of pigment ten to twelve inches long, six inches wide, and four inches thick – big enough to be grasped with both hands at once. This retooled paintstick loses its capacity to function as a stylus, becoming too thick to extend gestures of arm and hand into a rarefied grid of space, or to reduce solids to lines and planes through dematerialized geometry approaching absolute thinness. As it resists idealised figuration, Serra’s paintstick cultivates its thickness in material and metaphorical ways.

Richard Serra,
Drawings – Work Comes Out Of Work.

Edited by: Eckhard Schneider
Essays by: James Lawrence and Richard Shiff.


Richard Serra

Kunsthaus Bregenz



3 Responses

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  1. W said, on October 2, 2009 at 08:28


  2. Mike said, on November 3, 2009 at 03:58

    Beautiful post. I hope you don’t mind but I referenced you in my blog:

    Take care.

  3. […] Text quoted from this incredible blog: History of Our World […]

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