Edited by Silke von Berswordt-Wallrabe
Richard Serra has pursued a keen dialogue with the possibilities of printing since 1972, in the early stages of his work as an artist, and has now amassed a print oeuvre to rival his sculptural achievement. As with the sculptures, what he has sought to elicit from printing’s potential is not simply the duplication of imagery on paper, but a furtherance of each technique’s intrinsic material character. Whether the technique is etching, lithograph or silkscreen, the aim is to make an insistent physical presence to be encountered by the viewer’s entire body–and consequently some of these works reach up to 80 inches square in surface area. Implementing such basic forces as gravity, instability, and potential motion, Serra’s graphic works assert space, and human activity in space. They may also be occasioned politically, as works referencing Malcolm X, Bill Clinton, and Abu Ghraib indicate. The printwork gathered in Catalogue of Works ranges from early lithographs related to Serra’s “wall props” of the 1970s, which represent his first graphic experiments, to the large and sensual paintstick on screenprints of the 1980s to 1990s works such as the Hreppholar series, through to all works completed at the end of 2007.