Richard Serra: Passage of Time

Richard Serra’s exposition will last from April 10th to July 6th of 2014.
The admission to the Art Space is free.

The seemingly featureless Alriwaq Art Space is located right beside the MIA Park, in Doha, Qatar. Signs in Arabic showing both the name of the exhibition and the artist are the only remarks on the façade of the otherwise inconspicuous venue warehouse, which (it turns out) is first seen from the back. This whole ‘emptiness’, in my opinion, has something to add to the surrealism of the experience.

Of course, being in Qatar, heat is the prevailing feeling on the outside. But once inside, there is a contrast of temperatures while entering into a big, white, and almost empty space…

What is it about ample, enclosed spaces? What is it about the magnificence, height and massive staticity of Serra's work that is so appealing, so humbling? While entering to this huge, unique art space specifically emptied and prepared to hold just one big piece, it first struck me as the curvature of a massive, iron whale… But at the same time I also felt that there was something profoundly feminine about this work and its delicate rawness.

The work itself, ‘Passage of time’ (from the start, a beautiful, mysterious title), is comprised by two steel plates disposed in a wavy pattern, each one 4.1 meters high and 66.5 meters long (and 5.1 cm thickness). There is a space of about 2 meters within the plates, forming a somehow ‘walled’ passage through which it is possible to walk across the sculpture.

Observing if from a distance, at first, the instinct of walking inside is stronger and I circumvent it just by a half. Walking through the sculpture… Feeling the space being molded around me, tilted to one side and to another… I went back and forth in an attempt of getting a mental map of the structure. We are at the same level, or maybe it is better to say that we are below all of it; we are not able to observe the sculpture from a high vantage point.

I reckon this artwork is a very personal and unique experience, filled with the feelings and thoughts of the viewer when ‘living’ the sculpture. In other words, as true art is, this is an experience that cannot be fully described into pictures or words. Something even more valuable on these days of futile, ephemeral emotions.

PS The visitor is presented with a beautiful booklet containing a set of black and white pictures which summarizes the artist’s works around the city and the country.

PS2 This is not the first exhibition for Serra in the Middle East. Since 2011, the work ‘7’ is permanently located at the end of the circular walk beside MIA park.

PS3 Alriwaq art space previously held the ‘Relics’ exhibition from british artist Damien Hirst.


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