Sea Level (1996), Richard Serra. Photo: Jordi Huisman

Sea Level (1996)

Richard Serra

American artist Richard Serra (1938) was fascinated when he discovered that the level of the water of the surrounding lakes was higher than the ground in Zeewolde, and that people were actually walking on the bottom of the sea. In Zeewolde, Serra’s Sea Level (1996) shows how high the sea used to be here.

Serra, best known for his large works of art made of Corten steel, erected two concrete walls in national park De Wetering. Located on either side of the water, one is a continuation of the other and they are each 200 meters long and stand 200 meters apart. At its unveiling in 1996, Sea Level was Serra’s largest work of art in Europe, with a total length of 600 meters.

On the waterfront, the park’s lowest point, the walls are a few metres high; on the other side, they disappear into the slope. This makes the walls look like wedges, yet they are level in the sloping landscape. If the dikes were to break, the water would reach the top of the walls.

Walking past that cold concrete, you can get the oppressive feeling that you are ‘going under’. Once you can look over the wall again, walking in the other direction, it feels as if you are coming back up for air.

Richard Serra's Sea Level (1996) is located on Kastanjelaan in Zeewolde, The Netherlands. Click here for the address en coordinates.

Read more about Richard Serra's Sea Level

Richard Serra, Sea Level (1996), photo by Franzi Mueller-Schmidt, February 2021

Artist: Richard Serra (1938)
Title: Sea Level
Unveiling: 12 december 1996
Material: beton
Dimensions: each wall is 200 meters long
Location: De Verbeelding 25, Zeewolde
Commissioned by: municipality of Zeewolde and De Verbeelding
Managed by: the municipality of Zeewolde and Kunstwacht

Podcast over Sea Level

Sea Level werd niet direct omarmd door de bewoners van Zeewolde. Wat is ervoor nodig om een persoonlijke band te krijgen met een publiek kunstwerk? Luuk Heezen interviewt Demelza van der Maas, deskundig in musea en erfgoed, promoveerde op de vorming van erfgoed en identiteit van de IJsselmeerpolders en is bovendien voorzitter van het bestuur van Land Art Flevoland. Dit interview werd live uitgezonden vanuit De Verbeelding, met uitzicht op Sea Level, tijdens het Land Art Luisterweekend 2020.