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.
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