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Richard LONG

Great Britain born 1945

Wood circle 1976 Materials & Technique: sculptures, ninety pieces of wood

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 196.0 diameter
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1976
Accession No: NGA 76.74
Image rights: © the artist
  • Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf;
  • from whom bought by the Australian National Gallery, February 1976

Wood circle 1976 is indicative of the artist's longstanding approach to exhibiting his work within the gallery environment. This piece employs materials gathered from nature and laid out in a simple pre-defined arrangement according to the artist's accompanying Drawing for Wood circle 1976 or 'Certificate'. Wood circle is installed as follows:

First, about 24 pieces of wood should be placed around the perimeter to roughly mark out the circle. Then each remaining piece, selected at random, should be placed on the ground within the circle, not touching another piece. The distribution of wood throughout the sculpture is fairly even, and the pattern made by the pieces is completely random.

In 1977 Richard Long was invited to Australia by the contemporary art patron John Kaldor to undertake the John Kaldor Art Project 6. Using wood collected from bushland near Melbourne, the artist installed the impressive Bushwood circle 1977 in the Murdoch Court of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, December 1977 - January 1978. A second work, Stone line 1977, utilising stone quarried near Sydney, was exhibited concurrently at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, December 1977 - February 1978. The artist also documented A straight hundred mile walk in Australia 1977, undertaken near Broken Hill in N.S.W. The site, scale, use of local materials and publicity surrounding the artist's involvement with John Kaldor Art Projects has meant that Bushwood circle 1977 and Stone line 1977 are perhaps more familiar to Australian and international audiences than the National Gallery's smaller and more austere Wood circle.

Steven Tonkin

  1. Since 1969 the John Kaldor Art Projects have facilitated the exhibition of work by international contemporary artists in Australia; see Nicholaus Baume, From Christo and Jean-Claude to Jeff Koons: John Kaldor Art Projects and Collection, Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1995; and recently, Sol LeWitt Wall Pieces, Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1998

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra