Serra, 1988

Weight is a value for me… the balancing of weight, the diminishing of weight, the addition and subtraction of weight, the concentration of weight, the rigging of weight, the propping of weight, the placement of weight, the locking of weight, the psychological effects of weight, the disorientation of weight, the disequilibrium of weight, the rotation of weight, the movement of weight, the directionality of weight, the shape of weight. I have more to say about the perpetual and meticulous adjustments of weight, more to say about the pleasure derived from the exactitude of the laws of gravity. I have more to say about the processing of the weight of steel, more to say about the forge, the rolling mill, and the open hearth.

It’s hard to convey ideas of weight from the objects of everyday life, for the task would be infinite; there is an imponderable vastness to weight. However, I can record the history of art as a history of the particularization of weight. I have more to say about Mantegna, Cezanne, and Picasso than about Botticelli, Renoir and Matisse, although I admire what I lack. I have more to say about the history of sculpture as a history of weight, more to say about the monuments of death, more to say about the weight and density and concreteness of countless sarcophagi, more to say about burial tombs, more to say about Michelangelo and Donatello, more to say about Mycenaean and Incan architecture, more to say about the weight of the Olmec heads.

We are all restrained and condemned by the weight of gravity. However, Sisyphus pushing the weight of his boulder endlessly up the mountain does not catch me up as much as Vulcan’s tireless labor at the bottom of the smoking crater, hammering out raw material. The constructive process, the daily concentration and effort appeal to me more than the light fantastic, more than the quest for the ethereal.

— Richard Serra, “Weight.”

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