A towering steel labyrinth – rust-coloured and almost tomb-like – takes up a gigantic room inside London’s Gagosian Gallery. Titled NJ-2, it’s the central piece in Richard Serra’s new exhibition, featuring three weighty works that remind us once again why he is one of the most important living sculptors of minimalist abstraction. Walking through the narrow corridor of this fortress of a sculpture by the American artist, it’s the unyielding solidity of the steel and the sheer physical presence of the work that hits you. It’s a work not only to see but to feel – to lose your sense of a specific place or time.

In the next room is Rotate, two hulking metal blocks that are the same size, but with one rotated 45 degrees. The same approach is taken for Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure – two cylinders of equal weight and well, you can guess the rest from the title.

You might wonder what it all means. Are the works alluding to his hometown San Francisco, its dockyards and ruined ships? Or perhaps another time in history, with castles or pyramids? But it’s the lack of specific meaning that makes the sculptural language of Serra’s work truly poetic – and all the more evocative. Go ahead, walk through the labyrinth and write your own narrative.

NJ-2, Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, Rotate is on at the Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street, London, until 25 February. 

Text by Jainnie Cho