Sunday, August 5, 2012

Andy Goldsworthy

Natural artwork by Andy Goldsworthy
A natural artwork by Andy Goldsworthy. Red leaves floating in a small icy tidepool, arranged with empty black space at the center.

On oldie but goodie: clips of the film about land artist Andy Goldsworthy, "Rivers and Tides," set to music from CocoRosie. Video features Goldsworthy constructing impermanent natural structures and their slow deterioration: beehive shapes from stacked slate or ice and the tides around them; long chains of leaves left to float in a current; shockingly bright graphic shapes made by rearranging natural elements so their colors are grouped together; icicles broken and reattached as a snaking form attached to a stone; Goldsworthy lying on the ground in the rain and standing up to reveal his own crisp dry outline; the artist stacking a dome of driftwood that lifts as the tide comes in and floats out with the outgoing tide; and other natural materials rearranged into striking and precarious forms.

ETA: Goldsworthy working reminds me of playing with my friend Stella in elementary school. Stella had some woods behind her house and we spent a good deal of time trying to make things out of what we found, with a fantasy of being some sort of medieval woodsy hermits. We never got very far, but we did things like extracting the "glue" from osage oranges ("mock oranges") and using it, or weaving tiny things with pine needles, or extracting the orange color from the inner bark of the osage orange trees, or making food from wild onions and stuff in the yard. So even though we never made much I recognized Goldsworthy's process from a very long time ago. All this to say, having this realization made me think of when people see contemporary art and get angry and say, "my kid could do that!" Well, I actually recognized something I did as a kid in contemporary art, and it was pretty exciting. 

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