Artwork of the month July

Richard Serra, Vesturey I, II, III, 1909/91

Richard Serra

*1939 in San Francisco

Vesturey I, II, III, 1909/91

Etching and aquatint on paper, edition of 35

A solid black form rises up from the bottom edge of the picture in each of the three large- format prints in the Vesturey series, towering almost to the top edge. The black with its grainy materiality stands out sharply from the white paper, that is visible only in narrow strips along the edges. The upright proportions of the sheet and the density and depth of the layer of colour give the black form the presence of a physical gure that engages in a three-dimensional relationship with the body of the viewer.

Richard Serra's prints testify to his origins as a sculptor, with frequent references in terms of content too. The Vesturey series, for instance, is part of a group of works which Serra created in connection with his landscape sculpture Afangar from 1990. Across the island of Videy, just off the shore of the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, he spread nine pairs of basalt pillars, that had been broken out of a nearby rock formation and cut to the appropriate length. Thanks to its natural pillar-like form, the basalt obviated the necessity of any hewing; what is more, being volcanic rock, it testi es to the characteristic geology of Iceland.

Serra sees the works derived from Afangar not as depictions or illustrations of the sculpture. Instead, he describes the work on Afangar as a "catalyst which led to different activities such as etching and drawing". After experimenting with the technical possibilities of etching in an initial series, Serra then turned to larger formats. The unusually sculptural effect of the Vesturey prints (Vesturey is the name of an elevation forming part of the island of Videy) is based on a specially developed method combining multiple deep etching of the printing plate with the introduction of a rigid paper template cut to the size of the etched form. During the printing process the template combines with the colour.

Franziska Hilbe

<b>Richard Serra, Vesturey I, II, III, 1909/91</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.