The Rifts get their name from the distinctive white shapes—elongated triangles—that punctuate their otherwise unrelenting tarmac blackness, and perhaps from the geological term for a rent in the earth’s surface caused by moving tectonic plates. These sharp-edged triangular rifts are negative shapes, the white of the blank paper. An invention in drawing but one demanding their own rigor, they happen at the junction of two sheets of paper.
The stringent intelligible structures of the Rift Drawings obstruct us from seeing their white divisions expressively as other kinds of rupture—psychological, historical, ontological. Yet minimal metaphors of drawing remain: tension, balance, presence, space. The imposing scale and gross materiality of the Riftshover just long enough on this border, perhaps, to make us more conscious of the operations of metaphor in our relationship to drawing.
The first Rifts date from 2011, and were shown at The Menil Collection, Houston, in 2012, and at Gagosian Paris, London, and Los Angeles, 2013–2017.
In 2011, a major publication focusing on Serra’s drawings, Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective, was published by The Menil Collection; and in 2017, Richard Serra: Drawings 2015–2017 was published by Gagosian and Steidl on the occasion of the exhibition “Richard Serra: Drawings 2015–2017: Rambles, Composites, Rotterdam Verticals, Rotterdam Horizontals, Rifts” at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.