Richard Long: Heaven and Earth, room guide: room 6

Richard Long Installation view at Tate Britain 2009

Richard Long exhibition installation view at Tate Britain, 2009

© Tate

Some of the ideas in my work are about relativity and measurement: of walking time to distance, or stones to distance, or places to sea level, or from river to river, for example. Most of my longer walks are measured by days and nights, by solar time. As the moon makes the tides, Tide Walk, in contrast, is measured by lunar time. Since each tide is a ‘wave’ which travels around the coast, the tide level times between the English Channel and the Bristol Channel vary. So Tide Walk is about relativity, in that the tide will always be in a different state from the starting point of view of the walk compared to the end of it. It is like measuring the walk with two different clocks.

Hours Miles is a symmetry and balance between ‘difficulty’ and ‘ease’. First I made a continuous road walk in twenty-four hours which came to eighty-two miles. Then I inverted the numbers and walked twenty-four miles in eighty-two hours.

Walking to a Lunar Eclipse uses a correspondence between sun and moon. It measures a walk from a midday high tide to a midnight cosmic event, the perfect alignment of sun, earth, and moon. The walking miles correspond to the number of days in that year, a leap year.

The walks in this room are ‘local’, they criss-cross [?] the south and south-west of England. White Water Line demonstrates different types of energy. It uses china clay from the big clay pits near St Austell in Cornwall. This work represents the force of my hand speed, and the forces of water, chance and gravity. I make the top line of the image and nature makes the rest, revealing the cosmic variety of the microscale.