I recently wrote about the beautiful art of Andy Goldsworthy, and how it moves me. Natural materials adapted into new organic forms, his works are sometimes massive arches of stone or huge walls, and sometimes extremely ephemeral, a ‘throw’ of powdery snow into bright sunlight, an opportunistic ‘rain shadow’ or an ice sculpture that is at once both illuminated and destroyed by the rays of the rising sun.
After writing that post I was recommended to watch Rivers and Tides, a documentary by Thomas Riedelsheimer about the artist and his work in Nova Scotia, Southern France and near his home in Scotland. Today I had to travel to London and back for work, and I decided to watch the film while I was on the train. It was a beautiful and yet disorienting experience.
At times he seems a quiet, insular, almost isolated man, but then we see him with his wife and four children, a well-known member of his local community. Nevertheless, quietly-spoken, he evidently feels most at home when he’s working with ‘the earth’ and its materials, whether stone, ice, leaves, mud or wood. His work can be painstaking and painful, in that he works with ice in the crepuscular light on frozen riverbanks, or building precarious cairns of stone and wood that threaten to collapse (and often do).
Watching him work is a calming, meditative experience. By the time I emerged from the train at Paddington I felt distinctly out-of-place, almost unsure what to do next. The contrast between the raw beauty of his work and the peaceful environments in which he creates it was a complete contrast to the steel and glass and noise of the station.
But its images have remained with me all day: the gushing streams and bubbling white water, the pools filled with dandelion flowers, the immensely long chains of leaves, the ice cairns and arches. It’s truly beautiful, and I recommend it wholeheartedly. You can watch it on YouTube…