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Richard Long in India

Nov 30, 2021

For our A/W 2020 issue, TLmag34: Precious – A Geology of Being, Herve Perdiolle writes about meeting artist Richard Long in India in the 1990s.

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Text by Herve Perdiolle
Photography by Herve Perdiolle

The idea of inviting Richard Long and Denise Hooker to the land of Jivya Soma Mashe, the legendary artist of the Warli tribe who passed away in 2018, came into being when I was living in India between 1996 to 1999, with the purpose of discovering and studying the art of the Warli tribe in the state of Maharashtra, a mere 90 miles north of Mumbai.

On each one of those journeys, I had a chance to take walks lasting many hours, from village to village. The landscapes in their elemental loveliness, but even more so the whole host of details resulting from human activities in nature, imperceptibly conjured up Land Art, and more specifically the work of Richard Long – it, too, in its elemental loveliness.

This, then, is how the invitation to Richard Long to first travel to India in 2003 was born, or rather germinated, journey after journey, season after season.

“One of the reasons I use the circle is that it doesn’t belong to any one person but to everyone. It’s a platonic truth of form which can be invested with many meanings from many times and cultures, which is the power of the circle. My ‘‘personal language’’ is to use universal forms although in my own original ways, which I hope is not a contradiction. I think that on one level my work is simple and open, so any person anywhere can appreciate it.”

Richard Long – interview with Jean-Hubert Martin catalogue of the exhibitions ‘‘Dialog / Un incontro, Richard Long – Jivya Soma Mashe’’ Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf 2003, and PAC, Milan 2004.

Hervé Perdriolle is collector, art critic and curator. He was the art critic of the French movement Figuration Libre and participated in the first exhibitions in France including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring (1984). Since 1996, his main activity is to promote the Other Masters of India through the works of leading contemporary artists from tribal and folk Indians arts.

Richard Long in India
A Walking and Running Circle
Richard Long, Tumeric Line
Richard Long making a paddy field chaff circle
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