Published  25/08/2005
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In Bilbao, che serra, serra ...



The new installation by Richard Serra in Frank Gehry's Guggenheim (yes, inside it) does go to show, at last, that the museum is actually matching the quality of the architecture with modern masterpieces. There could be no greater sculptural/spatial union than that achieved. The sculpture contrasts in materials with the building subtly: it is made up of sheet steel, some two inches thick, and as much as fifty feet in length and up to 14 feet high. The sheets are curved both on the horizontal and the vertical axis. It is possible for museum visitors to walk between the sheets. The topology created by the structures is remarkable. As the art critic Robert Hughes recently commented on passing through the site, there is no guarantee of the sublime here, but the experience offered can lead to the sublime, 'Now that gods are dead, and so much of nature is dying.' A key component of the traditional sublime is surprise, and with Serra this is built-in.

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