Richard Long: Many Rivers to Cross
Thames & Hudson, 2021
Richard Long has been at the forefront of land art for more than half a century. A pioneer of conceptual practices in the 1960s, his expanded approach to sculpture has consistently taken the medium out of the studio into the natural world and around the globe, using time, space, distance, navigation, perception, the elements and the geological forces that have shaped the landscape around us as both his tools and his vocabulary.
Many Rivers to Cross is a thorough overview of Long’s career, selected by the artist himself and spanning the late 1960s to the present day. It covers his practice in all its forms – walks, photographs, text works, large installations, mud works and drawings, including some early unpublished works as well as many seminal and celebrated projects.
A number of short ‘back stories’ written by Long not only provide insight into the context and creation of key works, but also evoke the sense of freedom and adventure of an epic journey across foreign landscapes. Texts include a recent conversation between Long and internationally acclaimed composer and musician Nitin Sawhney; a dialogue about the recreation of Muddy Water Circle (1994) at Frieze Masters in London with Lisson Gallery in 2013; and a discussion with curator Alkistis Dimaki on the occasion of the presentation of Athens Slate Line at the Acropolis, Athens, in summer 2020. The book also includes documentation of works presented internationally in museums and galleries.
Using earth, rocks, sticks and other natural materials and forces ranging from water and gravity to clouds and constellations of stars, over the course of his distinguished career Long has represented the primal relationship between humankind, art and the landscape. In a modern, post-industrial, digital world, his poetic and often profound practice is a poignant reminder of the origins of life, of human development and civilization, and of the fundamental, primordial drive to create.