We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Southern gravity



Richard Long


02 Jun 1945 –

Alternate image of Southern gravity by Richard Long
Alternate image of Southern gravity by Richard Long
Alternate image of Southern gravity by Richard Long
  • Details

    Media category
    Mixed media painting
    Materials used
    460.0 x 1080.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the John Kaldor Family Collection 2013. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Richard Long

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Richard Long

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'From thunder and summer rains on the high South African veld to a day’s work in Sydney. A terracotta clay and water work made with a fast hand. I make one part of the image, and the forces of nature make the rest. The macro-scale and the micro-scale, deliberation and chance. I walk away with bats flying high over the Domain.'
    Richard Long 2011

    Richard Long has made the act of walking in remote and extraordinary landscapes into an art form. It is during these walks that he arranges natural objects such as rocks into geometric forms which he then photographs.

    ‘Southern gravity’ was commissioned by John Kaldor specially for the John Kaldor Family Gallery. Long’s mud drawings relate to the water lines poured over rock shelves that he often makes on his walks. Like the artist’s stone works, ‘Southern gravity’ is based on a geometric shape but the application of the mud is done with such an intensely energetic movement – akin to a ritual dance – that striking traces of the artist’s hand gestures are left behind. The wet mud splashes, drips and sprays over the underlying geometry, expressing not only the speed of execution but also the effects of gravity. The finer drips create the impression of a shower that is almost like the rain in a Hokusai print.

  • Video

    Video 2:14

    Art forum: contemporary art - question 6

    Watch on Gallery Channel

  • Audio

    Southern gravity - Richard Long 1:20

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Unpainting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 Sep 2017–12 Aug 2018

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Richard Long

See all 9 works