Richard Long: Heaven and Earth, room guide: room 4

Richard Long Norfolk Flint Circle 1990 shards of flint arranged in a full circle on the floor

Richard Long
Norfolk Flint Circle 1990

Tate © Richard Long

From the beginning I have always made another category of work for indoor and gallery spaces. These are parallel to the works I make in the landscape. They could be made from collected driftwood, or stones from quarries, or mud works made with my hands or feet on the floor or walls.

The outdoor and indoor works are complementary, although I would have to say that nature, the landscape, the walking, is at the heart of my work and informs the indoor works. But the art world is usually received ‘indoors’ and I do have a desire to present real work in public time and space, as opposed to photos, maps and texts, which are by definition ‘second hand’ works. A sculpture feeds the senses at a place, whereas a photograph or text work (from another place) feeds the imagination. For me, these different forms of my work represent freedom and richness – it’s not possible to say ‘everything’ in one way.

I like the fact that every stone is different, one from another, in the same way all fingerprints, or snowflakes (or places) are unique, so no two circles can be alike. In the landscape works, the stones are of the place and remain there. With an indoor sculpture there is a different working rationale. The work is usually first made to fit its first venue in terms of scale, but it is not site-specific; the work is autonomous in that it can be re-made in another space and place. When this happens, there is a specific written procedure to follow. The selection of the stones is usually random; also individual stones will be in different places within the work each time. Nevertheless, it is the ‘same’ work whenever it is re-made.

Explore this work in more detail in Works in Focus