A Line Made By Walking

Description

This black-and-white image depicts an empty field of grass with a line of trees far off in the distance. In the foreground of the image is a man-made line that the artist Richard Long created by treading back and forth along the grass, and the line of crushed grass continues on into the background of trees. To create this photo, Long disembarked after riding a train about twenty miles outside of London’s Waterloo station, and upon walking a little further discovered this field that is featured in the image. Inspired by nature, Long desires to feature the natural landscape in an innovative work that illustrates the human action of walking without ever directly seeing the man who left the trail. A shallow footprint can be seen in the foreground of the photo, further accentuating the presence of man in nature. This tangible, albeit understated, presence of human interaction in Long’s photography anticipates the interest in performance art that was to become widespread later in the 1970s.

While the man-made line cleverly demonstrates the human presence and bodily action of walking, the leftover traces of crushed grass also introduces the notion of ephemerality, since the trampled grass will soon blend in with the surrounding grass once more. The seemingly simple photo of a line in a field of grass thus seems to suggest the transiency of man’s mark on nature, perhaps implying the strength of nature as a force mightier than mankind. Accordingly, due to these subtleties captured in this black-and-white photo, A Line Made By Walking was a breakthrough piece for Long, and influenced his blossoming curiosity in the relationship between visual language and the notions of ephemerality and human presence in nature.

MetaData

Dublin Core

Title

A Line Made By Walking

Subject

Land Art, Richard Long

Description

This black-and-white image depicts an empty field of grass with a line of trees far off in the distance. In the foreground of the image is a man-made line that the artist Richard Long created by treading back and forth along the grass, and the line of crushed grass continues on into the background of trees. To create this photo, Long disembarked after riding a train about twenty miles outside of London’s Waterloo station, and upon walking a little further discovered this field that is featured in the image. Inspired by nature, Long desires to feature the natural landscape in an innovative work that illustrates the human action of walking without ever directly seeing the man who left the trail. A shallow footprint can be seen in the foreground of the photo, further accentuating the presence of man in nature. This tangible, albeit understated, presence of human interaction in Long’s photography anticipates the interest in performance art that was to become widespread later in the 1970s.

While the man-made line cleverly demonstrates the human presence and bodily action of walking, the leftover traces of crushed grass also introduces the notion of ephemerality, since the trampled grass will soon blend in with the surrounding grass once more. The seemingly simple photo of a line in a field of grass thus seems to suggest the transiency of man’s mark on nature, perhaps implying the strength of nature as a force mightier than mankind. Accordingly, due to these subtleties captured in this black-and-white photo, A Line Made By Walking was a breakthrough piece for Long, and influenced his blossoming curiosity in the relationship between visual language and the notions of ephemerality and human presence in nature.

Creator

Richard Long, English, b. 1945

Source

Tate

Publisher

N/A

Date

1967

Contributor

Kathleen Voight, Carina Hahn

Rights

Richard Long

Relation

Photographs

Format

8 1/4 x 11 1/4 cm

Language

En-US

Type

Photograph

Identifier

AR00142

Coverage

England

Date Created

February 22, 2018

Date Modified

April 1, 2018

Access Rights

Fair Use under educational usage

License

N/A

Has Part

N/A

Is Referenced By

N/A

References

N/A

Medium

Gelatin silver print on paper with graphite on board

Bibliographic Citation

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/long-a-line-made-by-walking-ar00142

Temporal Coverage

20th Century

Accrual Method

Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008

Audience

General audience

Rights Holder

http://www.tate.org.uk/about-us/policies-and-procedures/website-terms-use

Citation

Richard Long, English, b. 1945 , “A Line Made By Walking,” Park Culture, accessed February 25, 2021, http://parkculture.org/items/show/196.

Collection

Geolocation