If you don’t know about British artist Andy Goldsworthy, this documentary is a great way to get your feet wet. He’s hard to classify artistically, since there are not a lot of others doing what he has been doing so beautifully for decades, collaborating with the natural world in sculptural land art, temporal pieces, and photographed performances, using found materials, stone, even his own body. I’ve loved his work for ages, and this film takes you on a 3 year walkabout with him as he creates his magical experiences. There was actually a moment during the film when I was in awe. This is a must see for art lovers!
Goldsworthy’s deep connection with the natural world is what has driven his art since the beginning and watching him interact with a ravine he’s known for ages gives the viewer a grounding in his aesthetic philosophy. While there is certainly a reverence, there is also a whimsy. As he goes around the world creating art and talking about his process, he takes moments to lie on sidewalks as the rain begins, only to stand and walk away, leaving ghostly dry outlines of himself behind. He covers his hand in wet flower petals only to dunk it in a stream and watch the petals drift off in eddies. But there are also stone sculptures resembling ancient graves high on a hill, and his take on a stone fence in New Hampshire is pure genius.
I did not see the 2002 film Rivers and Tides, also by director Thomas Riedelsheimer about Andy Goldsworthy, but now it’s on my list. I was reminded of Faces Places as I watched Leaning Into the Wind. Goldsworthy is no quirky little Agnes Varda, but he is an artist of a certain age working at a mature level without limits. I highly recommend this one to the arty crowd. And you must follow it up with a visit to a forest nearby.
Here are some of his beautiful pieces as a preview.