Richard Serra: Equals

September 22, 2018November 3, 2018

Equals is a series of eight “wall-hangings” comprised of two sheets of handmade paper covered edge-to-edge with multiple layers of Paintstik and mounted directly to the wall with an invisible cleat system. Serra’s prints have always had a vital, integral relationship to his 3-dimensional work, as he will typically spend many hours sketching in the presence of his installed sculptures, and his close observations of them inform his larger-scale works on paper. Indeed, the Gemini project has a direct correlation to Equal, a sculpture comprised of eight forged steel blocks presented at the David Zwirner Gallery in the spring of 2015. Like the eight steel components, each of the Gemini Equals have identical area dimensions, and yet they seem unequal; overall, they are the same height, but the panels have different individual heights and widths, and we are compelled to consider the“weight”of each work. The Paintstik material that Serra and the Gemini G.E.L. workshop uses is so dark and textural that it absorbs the light around it, and the forms conjure the massive weight of the forged steel blocks; these may be works on paper weighing a few pounds each, but their density evokes what the artist calls “the psychological effects of weight.”

“Black is a property, not a quality. In terms of weight, black is heavier, creates a larger volume, holds itself in a more compressed field. [...]Since black is the densest color material, it absorbs and dissipates light to a maximum and thereby changes the artificial as well as the natural light in a given room. A black shape can hold its space and place in relation to a larger volume and alter the mass of that volume readily.” --Richard Serra