‘Every walk is about a different idea’: Richard Long on the art of seeing the world

The pioneering land artist speaks to William Cook about the many miles he has travelled – from Alaska to Lapland, the Andes to the Himalayas – and the joy it brings him

Wednesday 16 November 2022 21:30 GMT
<p>Solitary man: Long has left footprints around the world</p>

Solitary man: Long has left footprints around the world

In an upstairs room at the Lisson Gallery in London, Richard Long is telling me about his new one-man show. He’s matter-of-fact, but if you’re not familiar with his artworks his words may need some explaining – for this is a man who virtually created his own art form.

Is he a sculptor? Is he a photographer? Is he a poet or a painter? He’s all these things, and more. He’s been making art for half a century, yet even after all these years his work still feels like something completely new. “I realised that art could be made by walking,” he says. “That brought time and distance into a work – and once I realised that, I had an amazing freedom to make work on an enormous scale.”

Most of Long’s artworks consist of short descriptions or photographs of solitary walks he’s undertaken – over long distances, in remote places, in Britain and around the world. Often, he makes simple sculptures in the landscape he travels through, from natural objects that he finds en route. A stone circle is his favourite motif. Yet these sculptures are incidental, rather than the central activity.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in