East-West/West-East punctuates Qatar’s desert landscape

September 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Qatar museums authority commissioned ‘East-West/West-East’, a monumental sculptural installation by Richard Serra,situated in a desert at the Brouq Nature Reserve, approximately 60 kilometers from Doha.

Four steel plates punctuate the desert landscape, forming a close relationship to the topography of the site by crossing the peninsula of the protected park and connecting the waters of the gulf. The dark, towering beams rise to 14.7 meters and 16.7 meters above the ground, level to both each other and the gypsum plateaus on either side. Despite the vast distance that the plates span — over a kilometer from one end to the other — all four metal pillars can be viewed and explored from any point within the landscape.

The idea to work in the desert came from the Qataris. Serra recalled a conversation with Sheikha al-Mayassa during the construction of “7”: “She asked me, ‘Would you build a piece in the landscape?,’ and I said to her, ‘What landscape?,’ and she said, ‘The desert.’ ”

These gigantic steel plates are erie monoliths that wouldn’t be out of place in a film by Kubrick or Tarkovski.

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