Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time (2002)


What Andy Goldsworthy does is pure magic that can be deemed as truly amazing, or just a truly amazing use of proficiency. Goldsworthy masters his craft within an instance going out in to a natural terrain and instantly begins looking for objects to make up his next masterpiece. Goldsworthy takes what he’s given from nature, and in an obviously edited nature begins making a design. Scottish born artist Goldsworthy speaks with a gentle voice very often as all artists do knowing any little tremor will break down the masterpiece, and though he be slightly eccentric, mad, and demanding, he does manage to surprise with visions of nature that really made me gasp and smile with wonder at the beauty presented to us in stark luminous colors and shades.

Goldsworthy gives the audience his skill and method of creating art, while the film ironically offers up the profound thought of did Andy make the art, or did nature already make it for him? Meanwhile as Andy slowly gathers objects, settles down, and begins building right before our eyes, we see the sort of progress he makes while doing so and, in the end, we’re shown just how precise and absolute nature is and can be. Andy builds this one swirl design that he just can’t get rid of, constantly during the film and proceeds to build it in different forms for the audience. Slowly, he builds the design out of scattered icicles that fell to the ground just to be melted by the sun minutes later, he builds a circle out of twigs in the air only to have to have it shattered to pieces within seconds.

This slowly becomes a study of pure artistic impulse, as he makes this art to feed something within him. And he can not rest until he builds the design he has in mind, or something very closely resembling such. We receive a real glimpse in to the creative process as he looks around for his next potential artwork. The beautiful cinematography and direction from Thomas Riedelsheimer doesn’t just examine his artistic creations, yet, examines nature’s artistic beauty and potential for such as Goldsworthy just becomes a contributing factor. Even Goldsworthy never takes full credit for the creations, but insists its nature working before he does. The filming is often fascinating as we watch layer upon layer being put down for fifteen minutes and then it crashes down, and then he attempts to build them up again. These pieces of art, made from these materials, are his own gifts to nature, as fleeting as they may be.

The art is a long drawn out process for Goldsworthy who takes delight in finding materials and building them in to a solid structure only to have them swept away from water and wind. In one great sequence, he attempts to build a structure that keeps crashing down, and is racing to build the structure whole before the tide comes up and sweeps it away. In the end, as Goldsworthy demonstrates nature’s art, it results in a beautiful allegory on life, and how nature works in wondrous ways, Goldsworthy or not. Andy Goldworthy’s work deserves to be profiled in this breathtaking, beautiful, and fascinating look in to nature, the creative process, and of an unassuming artist that takes us, the audience, on an invigorating and stimulating journey in to his mind.