Richard Serra
Thinking on your Feet



6 July – 7 November 08



Opening: July 05, 2008, 5 - 10 pm

In a steady rhythm, a hand attempts to catch falling pieces of lead; the fingers of two tied hands skilfully and systematically free themselves from a tightly knotted rope; four hands scrape steel chips from a boarded floor, at first quickly and roughly, then steadily and meticulously. The films Hand Catching Lead (1968), Hands Tied (1968) and Hands Scraping (1968) show hands performing the most elementary actions. Richard Serra condenses the simplicity of the gestures and the concentration inherent to them to create a form of sober poetry.

The camera framing the image is the theme of the film Frame (1969) which plays with the phenomenon of perspectival foreshortening. In four measuring operations, Serra examines the different perceptions of space caused by the discrepancy between camera lens and human perception. By reversing painterly foreshortening, he vividly demonstrates the mathematical laws of transferring three-dimensionality into two-dimensionality. "Perception possesses its own abstract logic. This makes it necessary to more often adapt verbal or mathematical formulations (like measuring, in this case) to the objects than vice versa." (R.Serra)

In Railroad Turnbridge (1976), too, Richard Serra addresses the theme of perspective and image detail. He systematically walks through all the perspectives inherent to a bridge. At first, the deconstruction of a single perspective entirely annuls the spectator's viewpoint, until in the end everything comes together in an overall picture.

The exhibition Richard Serra. Thinking on your Feet for the first time highlights only the artist's filmic work. The KW Institute for Contemporary Art will screen five early films produced between 1968 and 1976, thereby enabling a different, unusual access to the work of the artist, who was born in San Francisco in 1939.

The exhibition is curated by Susanne Pfeffer.