Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Richard Serra's 'Te Tuhirangi Contour'

. . . That's basically what this piece is about: 
Building a work in the landscape to allow people to see the landscape.
~ Artist Richard Serra

Alberta Chu, owner of Boston-based ASKlabs, is the producer and director of the documentary Seeing the Landscape: Richard Serra's Tuhirangi Contour.  Unknown to me until recently, the film, which took five years to make and was first screened in January 2004, documents Serra's creation of Te Tuhirangi Contour, a site-specific, 20-foot-high and 857-foot-long steel sculpture on the remote and private Gibbs Farms in Kaipara, New Zealand. As the 28-minute documentary makes clear, the monumental and dramatic environmental artwork involved considerable complex engineering and no little collaboration, especially when Serra found his artistic vision "at odds with his patron, his materials, his environment, and the harsh realities of physics."

In this first very brief sneak peek, patron Alan Gibbs, a highly successful businessman with his own sculpture park ("The Farm") and artist Serra speak to what each saw as the artistic challenge of creating the permanent land sculpture:

This short addresses the physical challenges (each of the 56 two-and-one-half-inch-thick Corten steel plates weighs 11 tons; the plates were manufactured in Germany and sent by ship to New Zealand) of constructing the winding wall, which had to rise and fall with the swells and valleys of The Farm's topography:

See some construction photos here.

View this wonderful video in full here. It's a marvelous look at creative and conceptual processes and the give-and-take required for their realization.

Charlie Rose Interview with Richard Serra (2011)

Asklabs on FaceBook and Twitter

(Other posts about Richard Serra and his work can be found at Writing Without Paper. Use the search box at right to identify those posts.)


Louise Gallagher said...


Love that 'no wimpy pieces' need apply. :)

I'll have to watch the full doc later. Looks fascinating. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

our landscape is definitely a challenge...

Anonymous said...

Found your blog by chance while looknig for people who might like to hear a song based arounfd The Bell Jar,
and then found this on Richard Serra so maybe you'd like to hear this too?
Hope youlike them!

Andrea Boardman