PHOTO: Maria Clara Villas

One of the most celebrated contemporary plastic artists, known for his monumental steel sculptures, Richard Serra will have, starting this Saturday, February 23, his first work open to permanent visitors in Latin America. Composed of two 18,6m high steel plates – each weighing 70,5 tons –, the sculpture Echo was created by the American especially for the Moreira Salles Institute (IMS) in São Paulo.

The opening will be marked by a debate on Serra's work, at 11 am, with the participation of critics and curators Cauê Alves, Lorenzo Mammì and Sônia Salzstein and with the artist Iole de Freitas.

Although he also produces drawings, smaller-scale sculptures and video works, it is for his grandiose pieces spread across several countries – often designed especially for the place where they will be exhibited – that Serra, now 80 years old, has established himself over the decades. . His works are integrated into the urban landscapes of London and New York, the deserts of Qatar, the forests of New Zealand or the rooms and gardens of some of the most important museums in the world.

Sculpture by Richard Serra. PHOTO: Maria Clara Villas

Now with Echo, positioned in the external garden of the IMS, São Paulo is part of this circuit. The sculpture's installation process involved the work of more than 60 professionals, including technicians and engineers, from arrival at the Port of Santos to arrival and assembly at the IMS. Despite impressive size and weight, it is also possible to perceive, along with brutalism, a subtlety in Serra's works.

The artist began using steel in the 1970s and once wrote in a catalog for an exhibition: “Weight is a value to me. Not that it is more expressive than lightness, but simply that I know more about weight than lightness, and therefore I have more to say about it.”

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