Review: Richard Serra at the Gagosian Gallery (EXHIBITION)


Review: Richard Serra at the Gagosian Gallery (EXHIBITION)

This gallery is a great little find, first and foremost. The Gagosian Gallery. It’s situated in North London, just around the corner (okay, probably more like a 10 minute walk) from Kings Cross St Pancras Station.

It’s one of those ‘corporate galleries’ that makes a lot of money and knows it (you can tell from the amount of security guards circling the works in their uniform black suits.) From this, you’d expect slick exhibitions showing well-established artists and this is what we get in this exhibition: Richard Serra.

Personally, this is of interest for me due to that ‘D’ word (dissertation – shhhh, don’t speak it too loudly). But also, of general interest. Knowing Serra’s previous work (large outdoor sculptures, specifically his controversial piece Tilted Arc, 1981) I wanted to see how his work would exist within the dynamics of a gallery and how they could (or couldn’t) successfully pull it off.

And on a whole, I think they did I good job. Being within a gallery space, did unfortunately make me question the level of interactivity that the pieces allowed, and did have to ask one of those security guards whether or not it was allowed. (It was.)

The exhibition consisted of 4 separate pieces, each in different rooms.

  • Backdoor Pipeline
  • Ramble
  • Dead Load
  • London Cross
  • (Above is London Cross followed by Ramble.)

    Each was a large sculptural piece made from steel. Each matched the size of the rooms. I think that spaces given to each piece was clearly given much thought, meaning that no work felt suffocated.

    Very brief blurb of each piece:

    Backdoor Pipeline – a large 15.2m high steel tube-like sculpture that you can walk through. The way that you see the light shift as you travel through the tube brings about a child-like attitude.

    Ramble – as the name would suggest consists of 24 plates of thick steel that you walk in and out of. Some are taller than others, so despite my short height I could see over some. Yet others were too tall. I don’t know why I quite enjoyed weaselling in and out of these blocks.  With other people (unfortunately it was empty when I was there) it could escalate into a game of hide and seek.

    Dead Load – probably the most disappointing of the set. It is just a block of steel. Just a lump. Which someone was sat drawing at the time of my visit. Which, I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t quite understand. He was just sat straight on. Looking at this block of steel.

    London Cross – perhaps the most interesting of the bunch. It cuts the room is half, from corner to corner. As you enter you are affronted with a tall wall of steel. Above that is another panel of steel crossing the room again. To see the other side you have to walk back out of the room and into the room via another entrance.

    All in all, it’s free and interesting to see how these types of sculptures exist inside within this type of space. So I would say – go and see!

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