‘.. a few of my favourite things … ‘ #2: Andy Goldsworthy


Another of my favourite artists which I would like to share with you is English land artist/sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.

Now in his late 50s, Goldsworthy’s work came to prominence particularly in the 80s, and since then he has continued to create challenging and wonderful pieces with materials sourced from his surrounding world.  Typical of his work is the use of petals, mud, hair, sticks, rocks, ice and even rain. One of my favourite pieces is his ‘Midsummer Snowballs’ of 2000, where he made 13 one tonne snowballs filled with different detritus during the winter, stored, and finally transporting them to the middle of urban London in summer to melt in their own time (see image).

His works live in a delicate, transitory state, existing on the rim of being, the edge of vision, the periphery. They prompt questions: were they ever there? What is real? What was there before? And, what will it be like tomorrow? All these engage the audience at a different level to the vast majority of other artists, and prompt further subtle questioning of nature, and our very existence.

His art reflects the importance of the physical surroundings, and can be divided into 3 categories: isolated outdoor pieces (recorded by photograph and often published in book form), gallery works, and public commissions. Goldsworthy believes that the land is his teacher. He was quoted as saying: "When I began working outside," he later recalled, "I splashed in water, covered myself in mud, went barefoot and woke with the dawn." *. He sees a direct connection between him and the earth, which in turn leads to the creation of environmentally based art and works

Goldsworthy's art encompasses both ephemeral and permanent characteristics of change. “I have become aware of how nature is in a state of change and how that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather … with half-understood feelings that have to travel with me until conditions are right for them to reappear.” ** With these artefacts, Goldsworthy has attempted to take his work another step further, subtly altering nature, attempting to harness the natural environmental change, to control time, to control the weather, to even control gravity.

I find this body of work truly inspirational.

*Sooke, Alastair. (2007, March 24) "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", The Daily Telegraph, Retreived September 9 2007, from Telegraph.co.uk database.

**Krug, D. Andy Goldsworthy, Ballet Atlantique, Ecological Design, 2006, Retreived September 9 2007, from http://greenmuseum.org/c/aen/Issues/goldsworthy.php