Richard Long

Two Straight Twelve Mile Walks on Dartmoor, England 1980


Not on display

Richard Long born 1945
Screenprint on paper
Image: 1022 × 1521 mm
frame: 1041 × 1543 × 40 mm
Purchased 1980

Display caption

For Richard Long the walks he makes are works of art. He describes his walking pieces as ‘the distillation of experience’ which serve to ‘feed the imagination’.

In this work, Long uses two lists of words to record his experience of two hikes across Dartmoor. The first walk is evoked through a string of natural landmarks with ancient and evocative names. The second route is described in a series of physical experiences, such as creaking ice or using stepping-stones to cross a river.

Gallery label, March 2004

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Catalogue entry


Not inscribed
Screenprint, 40 1/2 × 59 1/4 (102.3 × 152)
Purchased from Anthony d'Offay Ltd (Grant-in-Aid) 1980
Exh: Richard Long, New York, Anthony d'Offay, September–October 1980 (no catalogue)

Richard Long first exhibited a work in which the imagery consisted entirely of words in the exhibition When Attitudes become Form, at the Kunsthalle, Berne, in March–April 1969. This work was ‘A Walking Tour in the Berner Oberland’. It was a large poster with the words in capitals:


Only one copy was printed and its present whereabouts is unknown.

Two works of 1977, each consisting exclusively of words, were reproduced in the book Richard Long, published by the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, on the occasion of Long's exhibition there in September–October 1979. The first, ‘21 Places’, concerned three cyclists, in Poland, West Germany and England respectively, who, starting at the same time, rode for six hours along roads of their own choosing, noting the names of the places they passed on the hour. In the second work ‘Four Walks’, carried out by Long himself in Ireland, England and Wales, each walk was defined by the name of the place at the beginning and end of each walk and the distance traversed.

Two works of 1979 each involving words alone, in block capitals with the titles in red, were painted on the walls of the gallery in Long's exhibition at the Lisson Gallery in October–November 1979. They included ‘A Straight Northward Walk across Dartmoor’ in which names of things Long saw and passed over were deployed in a single line horizontally across two walls. In the second ‘A 2 1/4 Day Circular Walk in the Scottish Highlands’ the words surround a circular blank space; the words relate among other things to place names, time (e.g. ‘first night’), weather, things seen, heights of the walk (‘lowest place’ and ‘highest place’) and to unusual walking activity (‘wading’). They were also later published in the magazine Aggie Weston no. 16, Winter 1979. In his exhibition at the Sperone, Westwater, Fischer Gallery in New York in September 1982 Long showed two works written directly on the wall in pencilled capitals; they were ‘Plane of Vision’ and ‘Early Morning Senses Island Walk’, both works of 1982. ‘Plane of Vision’ was also shown (both in English and French) in Long's exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, in 1982.

In 1981 a book Twelve Works by Richard Long was published by the Anthony d'Offay Gallery. In the book are printed twelve works all of which exist as posters, involving words only, dating from 1979 to 1981, arranged in chronological order. The first is a work executed in Mexico. The second is ‘Two Straight Twelve Mile Walks on Dartmoor’, 1980; in it, words are arranged in two vertical columns, on the left names of places or rivers passed on the way out and on the right experiences or visual incidents on the return. The work started at Dendles Waste, the bottom name, whence Long walked to the East Dart river, the name at the top. He then returned walking a 12 mile straight walk 1/2 mile away from the first line, starting with ‘Into a Setting Sun’ at the top and finishing with ‘Darkness’ at the bottom. All the words are printed in black with the exception of the title which is in red, as in all of the twelve works reproduced in Twelve Works.

T03161 is accompanied by a certificate, signed by Long, which reads: ‘A printed poster work which is pasted directly onto a wall. This work is not a multiple. There are a number of posters which can be used when and where required by the owner, and more may be screen-printed from the positive when necessary’. Twenty nine copies of the screen print were supplied.

This catalogue entry is based on a discussion (25 March 1983) with Richard Long and has been approved by him.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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