Richard Long

Richard Long

He is one of Britain’s first Land Artists. His work is sculptural and photographic, but he has also made paintings using mud taken from sites of particular relevance to him.

He considers that his work is about the impact of his actions upon the landscapes and environment in which he produces them, rather than in a visual representaion. Thus he has undertaken many walks in a wide variety of places, which he documents simply and sparsely in a few lines of text.

I visited his exhibition ‘Time and Space’ at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol.

Photo of work of Richard Long at Arnolfini Gallery Bristol. ‘Time and Space’ 2015.

Other works consist of photographs of found materials which he encounters on his walks. He assembles large sculptural forms from rocks or stones, often in circles, and takes photographs of them. he often returns the material to it’s original state. Other land sculptures consist of lines made by his feet walking a particular terrain, which he again photographs.

Rock Circle.

The exhibition at Bristol’s Arnolfini Gallery contains a series of works, early and more recent, including installations made by him specifically for the exhibition. There are huge mud paintings covering entire walls, which were made using mud from the Severn esturary. There is a slate “cross”. There are examples of the walks he has undertaken and the texts which resulted.

Slate cross. Part of exhibition ‘Time and Space ‘Arnolfini Bristol

This approach to art pushes my understanding of the creative process. It stimulates the imagination, as it is almost free of imposition, and I have been left with a soft and misty series of questions which are more about the artist as a person than they are about the actual work. What has motivated him, how did he arrive at the concepts, how does he sustain himself in such solitude, whilst walking the miles? As Alastair Sooke (Sooke 2015) observes, his work has a harshness and total lack of sentimental engagement with the landscapes he crosses. This represents his self-imposed acseticism and pushes the same condition upon the viewer.


Glover, M. (2015) ‘Review: Richard Long. Time and Space, Arnolfifi Gallery, Bristol. In: The Independent [Online] At: (Accessed 05/10/2015)

Sooke, A. (2015) ‘Richard Long: Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol: review ‘the self-discipline of a medieval monk’. In: The Telegraph [Online] At: (Accessed 05/10/2015)

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