The first time I’ve got in contact with the impressive sculptures of Richard Serra, was at The Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao. I have to say that I still don’t know if I was most fascinated by the O’Gehry creature or by the weathering steel ones from Serra. A true dilemma!
American, born in the late 30s, Richard Serra is one of the most significant artists of his generation. He has produced large-scale, site-specific sculptures that are visible all over the globe. For the Guggenheim in Bilbao, he has created a site-specific installation called The Matter of Time. The installation comprises a huge snake and torqued ellipses all made of weathering steel. These sculptures create a dizzying, unforgettable sensation of space in motion. They shift in unexpected ways as you walk in and around them. I did walk into all of them, up and down, forth and back. I did feel so little but at the same time safe. I could not resist; my fingers and hands did touch and caress the raw and solid surface. Weathering steel changes colour over time. Again The Matter of Time.
While you gaze at the installation, you wonder how this could happen: How did the artist physically build these steel giants? And how was it possible to place them in the Museum? It’s only a matter of time, you know it can happen, but you don’t know when and how exactly. For this reson, I took a book about the installation, how the single pieces were produced and delivered to the Museum. Each sculpture is made of several pieces for a total weight of 1,000 tons! It’s already a challenge to transport these heavy giants from the factory to the Museum, but it was a real spectacle to get them inside the narrow entrance of the Gallery that did host them. I’ve read that parts of the flooring were to be rebuilt.
When I see such masterpieces, I'm always fascinated and impressed by our skills as human beings.