Richard Long, ‘A Line Made by Walking’ 1967
Richard Long
A Line Made by Walking 1967
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland
© Richard Long

Line is the most important element of making art. It is not about materials or textures – it is the notation which matters. Human beings have always experienced the earth by walking on it, leaving traces of their paths. I like to follow unending road lines to see where they will take me.

Richard Long’s practice of creating lines and circles by walking involves his body, scratching his presence on the earth. His interventions are not permanent; his materials – stones, mud and the imprints of his footsteps – will eventually be absorbed by the environment.

Lines and circles are primitive expressions of man’s relation to the earth. Where the lines mark our journey the circle is often invisible, creating a protective boundary of chanted prayers, which can be blown away by the slightest breeze.