This serene portrait, of the art and philosophy of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, invites viewers to consider their current relationship to the evolving natural world around us. Mr. Goldsworthy has a deep need for communing with the natural landscape and seeks to rearrange rocks, ice, wood, snow, leaves, vines, flowers, moss, straw and clay in order to "touch the heart of the place". Indeed, the birth of a particular sculpture is often part of an active natural process that is taking place at each location: "The very thing that brings the work to life, is the thing that will have a hand in its death or dissolution".
Andy Goldsworthy's works generally have the quality of being ephemeral and are primarily created within remote natural settings. Therefore the artist's own efforts to document the short life of each work, through photography, have historically been the way that these works come to be seen by the public in a gallery or museum setting. With "Rivers and Tides", director Thomas Riedelsheimer assumes this task of visual documentation. The subtitle of the documentary, "Working With Time", explores how the effects of the rising and falling of the ocean's tides, the flow of water in rivers and streams, plant growth through the seasons and even the movement of farm animals, all influence and interact with the artist's work. The documentary medium of video now makes this fascinating study of time possible.
A wide range of Andy Goldsworthy's completed works are filmed, many being created specifically for this program. The work was made throughout a number of different cycles of the seasons and in at least four major locations: Nova Scotia, Canada; Penpont, Scotland; Storm King, New York and Digne, France. The ninety-minute documentary presents Mr. Goldsworthy as the sole narrator of his creative process. The artist is shown scouting locations, gathering materials and using mostly his own hands to create works featuring incredible juxtapositions of physical form and color.
Composer and musician Fred Frith provides subtle sonic accents to this visual focus at interesting occasions within an otherwise partly silent journey. Frith's haunting score is thoroughly integrated with the visual beauty and almost fanatical range of perspective in Mr. Riedelsheimer's documentary cinematography.
"Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides" can be recommended, with confidence, to those with an interest in a holistic approach to contemporary art.