Thursday, March 22, 2018

A return visit to Andy Goldsworthy

Director Thomas Riedelsheimer, whose Rivers and Tides introduced many viewers to the art of Andy Goldsworthy, revisits Goldsworthy some 16 years after the first movie. Those familiar with Rivers and Tides know that Riedelsheimer made a movie that was instructive about Goldsworthy’s art: His sculptures are designed to disappear as environmental forces (everything from erosion to wind) work on them. Beautifully filmed, Rivers and Tides itself became a captivating example of cinematic art. At first, I wondered why Riedelsheimer would want to return to a subject he’d already so successfully explored. But a few minutes into the film told me that Riedlesheimer was right to give Goldsworthy a cinematic encore. After the death of his former wife and as he steps into his sixties, Goldsworthy has become more reflective. Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy feels like a twilight look at Goldsworthy. That's not to say that the artist's productivity has in any way diminished. Much of the film takes place on Goldsworthy’s farm in Scotland, which means that his sculpture and his personality often are rooted to a single place and the intimacy he feels with its contours. The fall of a tree, for example, becomes an event that not only unleashes Goldsworthy’s creativity but puts him in touch with the inexorable passage of time and life. These days, Goldsworthy also travels, working on projects in US and Brazil that seem to have more permanence than Goldsworthy’s work in natural surroundings. He also visits urban areas, where he connects to the human presence that can be felt on every street corner. At times, Goldsworthy's daughter Holly joins him as a helper. I can’t say that Leaning into the Wind is either as revealing or as transportive as Rivers and Tides, but it’s full of stirring images. At 61, Goldsworthy seems more keenly aware than ever that the impressions we make are destined to vanish. Still, acknowledging the sad inevitability of our fates doesn’t mean we can’t strive to make our endeavors profound and beautiful.

No comments: