- Artist: Richard Serra
- Creation date: (1988)
- Object type: Sculpture
Richard Serra broke through as an artist in New York in the late 1960s. In his works he has consistently challenged traditional notions about sculpture and artistic creativity. What interests him is not the personal and subjective, but the simple structures and relations between objects, weight, and balance. Early on his works assumed such enormous dimensions that it became necessary to use industrial techniques and labour.
Serra’s monumental sculptures of steel plates have often been highly controversial. Unsurprisingly so, since Serra’s ambition with his public works is not to harmonize or beautify their surroundings, as public decorations are often meant to do. Rather, Serra seeks primarily to increase awareness about the place where the sculpture is situated, and to provide viewers with a physical experience of themselves in relation to the sculpture.
Shaft consists of two massive, convex surfaces that are almost mirror images of each other – but not quite, as one surface stands upside down in relation to the other. The two steel plates, each weighing fourteen tons, stand securely by virtue of their own bulk. The viewer will nevertheless perceive a certain tilt that adds some uncertainty.