The Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) led by its chairperson, HE Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, unveiled yesterday one of the major artworks in the country - “East-West/West-East” by American artist Richard Serra.
Extending over a kilometre, the new landscape commission that features four steel plates at Brouq Nature Reserve, near Zekreet in western Qatar, was toured by HE Sheikha al-Mayassa, Serra, some dignitaries, QMA officials and dozens of guests. The place is located approximately 60km from Doha.
“When I first came here, Sheikha al-Mayassa asked me - when we were building for the Islamic museum - if I want to build a piece in the landscape and I said, what landscape?” recounted Serra in his message at the unveiling. “And she said the desert. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what the desert was all about here.” He was taken to different deserts but he noted that they kept returning to the place.
In a press statement, QMA noted that the artwork, measured by its relation to the topography, crosses the peninsula of the Brouq Nature Reserve connecting the waters of the Gulf. It is also described as a unique work of art.
HE Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani
attending the unveiling event of the Serra
The statement added that despite the distance of the plates from each other, all four can be seen and explored from either end of the sculpture.
QMA said the event coincides with Serra’s first solo show in the Middle East at the Al Riwaq Doha Exhibition Space and QMA Gallery at Katara, dubbed “Passage of Time”.
The new large-scale artwork is made up of two 66.5m-long and 4.1m-tall steel curves “that snake diagonally through the exhibition space”. It portrays from different periods of the artist’s 50-year career of sculptures and drawings.
Titled “Richard Serra”, the two exhibitions are curated by Alfred Pacquement, former director of the National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris. It will run from tomorrow until July 6.
After Damien Hirst’s “The Miraculous Journey” in 2013, Serra’s “East-West/West-East” will become part of Qatar’s public art landscape and other important artworks in its collection. This included Louise Bourgeois’ “Maman” and eL Seed’s Calligraffiti project.
“7”, a vertical steel sculpture at the Museum of Islamic Art park, was Serra’s first public artwork in the Middle East unveiled in 2011.
Serra has also received various important public and private commissions worldwide in the past 40 years.