A line in Ireland
Collection of the artist
On display from 2005 to 2012 (January)
As the title states, A Line In Ireland of 1974 is a photograph of a line made in the ground by the repeated passing of people. A line that the artist himself followed, walking in that
specific place, in the midst of the natural setting and its landscape. Long's walking is never aimless or desultory, but entails a sequence in which each point is always related to the previous ones in an endless process. Consequential and continuous, it is a primary expression of man's ancestral way of immersing himself in the flow of nature and deriving rational and formal concepts from it. An outstanding representative of British Land Art or Environmental Art, Long usually works alone, in silence, and his walking
resembles the slow journeying of a pilgrim. Japan, the Alps, Patagonia and the Scottish Highlands have furnished the artist with scenery, atmospheres and materials. Like the
civilizations of the past, have which traversed the earth through the centuries, leaving on it the traces of their cultures, so Long modifies the landscape by marking it with elementary gestures, like walking, accumulating fragments, placing stones and outlining simple, universal forms like the circle, line and spiral. The artist often reconstructs his projects in art galleries, creating a close dialectic between natural space and the space of culture. In other cases he exhibits the photographic documentation of works produced in distant and inaccessible places. Since they might be eventually be destroyed or altered by the action of nature, the photographic documentation has an essential function and itself acquires the value of a work of art.
A line made by walking opens in 1967 a research that Long will continue for all the following years, as England (1968) and A line in Ireland (1974) show. Man’s path through life is not casual and fragmentary, but follows a sequence in which each point is always connected up with the previous one in an infinite process.The land art movement arose at the end of the Sixties in America and Britain. The artists’ intent was to modify the landscape, altering its elements so as to create abstract geometrical-type forms. Photographic documentation of these works was fundamental: often they were made in inaccessible places and could in time be destroyed or altered by natural action. Long works on his own, in silence; his journey is not one of conquest, but the slow progress of a pilgrim in search of a mystical epiphany. From Japan, the Alps, Patagonia, the Scottish Highlands he has gleaned the atmosphere, the materials eroded by time and history. Whole civilizations have arisen and declined in the selfsame lands: millions of men have traversed that selfsame space, have cultivated it and have set up there the simulacra of their culture. Long’s choice is to do the same as them; his acts are elementary – walking, collecting fragments, arranging stones. The forms he creates are universal: circles, lines, spirals. In this world there are no national or ideological barriers: all men share the primordial instinct towards a Panic fusion with nature and, at the same time, towards its abstraction in order to have a rational concept of it.
The land art movement arose at the end of the Sixties in America and Britain. The artists’ intent was to modify the landscape, altering its elements so as to create ...
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