In 1994, Richard Serra stated, “you can cover a surface with black without risking metaphorical and other misreadings. The use of any other color would be the extension of coloration, with its unavoidable allusions to nature. From Gutenberg on, black has always been synonymous with a graphic or print procedure. I am interested in the mechanization of the graphic procedure; I am not interested in the paint-allusion gesture”.
For Krakow Witkin Gallery’s exhibition, “Richard Serra, 1985-1996”, the works on view are neither illustrations of sculptures nor loose gestural sketches. The pieces (either etching or paintstik/silkscreen) use the surface of the paper to create formally challenging situations where the density and texture of the black boldly challenge the rigidity of the rectilinear paper. Balancing, expanding, holding, leaning and pushing are just a few of the verbs used to describe what the black areas are doing on/to/with the paper. The radicality of the textured surface further enunciates the dialogue between activity, form and material to create works that could only come from Serra’s singular vision.