Richard Long has made the landscapes of the world the territory of his work. He first came to prominence in the late 1960s and is part of an international generation of artists who extended the possibilities of sculpture beyond traditional materials and methods. His art was grounded in his direct engagement with the landscape.
Despite the formal simplicity of Long’s work, his use of walking as a medium had revolutionary implications. An artwork now had time as a fourth dimension, as well as the potential scale of distance. This enterprise also connected the act of walking to rivers, tides, mountains, deserts, gravity, clouds and other natural or cosmic phenomena, and with locations and countries around the world. It is an inclusive art, encompassing sculpture, language, mud works and printed matter.
Long’s work is rooted in his love of nature, and the experience of making solitary walks. Most of these take him through rural and remote areas in Britain, or as far afield as the plains of Canada, Mongolia and Bolivia. Some walks follow a particular idea, such as walking a straight line for a predetermined distance, or using riverbeds as footpaths, or picking up, carrying and placing stones at certain intervals along the way of a walk. His art is radical but not monumental.
Long usually works in the landscape but sometimes uses natural materials in the gallery. The forms of his sculptures are universal: the line, the circle, the cross and the spiral. The scale of his sculptures is determined by his response to each particular place or landscape locality.
Richard Long was born in Bristol in 1945 where he continues to live and work. Long has exhibited widely since his first solo show at the Konrad Fischer Gallery in Düsseldorf in 1968. He represented Britain in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and was awarded the Turner Prize in 1989.