The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
In order to make the work 'Wood Circle' by the English artist Richard Long, hundreds of branches are placed together in the shape of a circle with a diameter of seven metres. The branches are all of different sizes and they are randomly spread in different directions but in such a way that the distance between them is roughly the same everywhere. Following these directions results in an undulating pattern.
Long makes different sorts of works but they are closely interrelated. In nature he makes simple geometric sculptures using stones and branches. These disappear again after a while as a result of the influence of natural conditions. He also makes "conceptual" sculptures. He follows a route determined in advance, for example, a walk in the form of a circle. Long documents his walks and interventions in nature with photographs, maps and descriptions and then exhibits these at a later stage. He also makes sculptures in exhibition rooms. In this case he arranges natural materials such as wood, stone or clay in geometric patterns. With regard to his preference for these forms, he said: "I use lines and circles because of their strength. These rigid forms contrast with the capricious character of the natural material with which they are composed."
Long’s work is inconceivable without the developments of minimal art and conceptual art. He studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London from 1966 to 1968 where a number of artists including Gilbert & George, Barry Flanagan and Hamish Fulton were thinking of ways to expand the concept of sculpture at the time. For them a sculpture was no longer by definition an unchanging spatial object made by an artist. Art could also be less tangible and focus more on an idea. A work of art could have a temporary character. Because of the fact that some of Long’s work is created directly in nature it is also classified as Land Art.
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