Rated G(reen): Rivers and Tides

I recently rented a documentary, called Rivers and Tides, about British environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. Known for his “ephemeral” and “transient” pieces, usually made out of delicate natural materials destroyed by the elements soon after being constructed, Goldsworthy says about his work:

“Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.”

I want to say that I immediately loved Goldsworthy’s work, but having gone to art school, I was unfortunately in close contact with a lot of “artists” that were really just full of shit. Not saying that Goldsworthy is not completely earnest and original with what he does, just that it’s hard at first to see the value of creating something only to have it destroyed immediately. This sort of impermanence means that the only way most people see Goldsworthy’s sculptures are through the photos taken during their brief existence:

From creativityfuse.com

From arthistory.sbc.edu

From foodthought.org

From goldsworthy.cc.gla.ac.uk

From rikkcarey.wordpress.com

What do you think? Do you feel the message and vision is still perfectly clear when seen through the camera’s eye or do you feel something is lost in translation? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see something like this in its natural surroundings, perhaps a sculpture that had the same transient feel, but was made out of more permanent materials? Or is that idea missing the whole point?

Movie cover from zeesoftware




2 thoughts on “Rated G(reen): Rivers and Tides

  1. These are really neat. They make me think of the sand mandalas Buddhist monks create and then immediately destroy as offerings to rivers. I make a lot of art to go into sacrificial fires or to decay by trees. I don’t know if he does it for any spiritual purpose, but for me it feels powerful to invest time, energy, and resources into something that is a gift for the local spirits or Gods.

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