Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers & Tides
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Wildly praised by the nation's top critics, the smash theatrical hit RIVERS AND TIDES is a mesmerizing, poetic and curiously contemplative portrait of revered Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, whose long-winding rock walls, icicle assemblages and other intricate, druidic masterpieces are made entirely of materials found in the wild. Gorgeously shot and edited by director Thomas Riedelsheimer, RIVERS AND TIDES is an intoxicating study of the fragile relationship between man, art and nature.
Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides is a truly beautiful, Scottish-German 2001 documentary about artist Goldsworthy, a Scotsman whose medium is nature itself and whose preferred studio is the outdoors, particularly where water forever flows, rises, and/or retreats. The soft-spoken, secluded Goldsworthy is seen hard at work making ephemeral sculptures out of bits of ice in the trees, or building tall, mysterious cones from loose rock, which stand like spiritual sentinels in forests and on shorelines, overgrown by plants or swallowed daily by high tides. Filmmaker-cinematographer Thomas Reidelsheimer goes to great and sometimes inexplicable lengths to make visual corollaries to Goldsworthy's ideas about underappreciated relationships between light, color, movement, balance, and fluidity of form in the real world, making Rivers and Tides a lively and always surprising cinematic gallery. Some of Goldsworthy's most miraculous natural installations--stone walls that snake through hundreds of feet of forest and stream, for instance--show up in the last half-hour. --Tom KeoghSee all Editorial Reviews
- Seven never-before-seen short films: Storm King Wall, Leaf Horn, Ice Arch, Garlic Leaf Line, Black Stone/Rain Shadow, Ice Cake, Colored Leaf Hole
- Photo gallery
- Andy Goldsworthy biography
- Filmmaker biography
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HIs basic brief is to go out into the world and make something from what he finds there. Then he photographs it, and then lets it return to what it was. Some of his installation pieces in galleries have been pine-cone shaped stacks of slate, or other naturally occurring building material. Tori Amos stood in one of the slate stacks, as if it were a skirt, for the cover of one of her early records. Once he made a collection of snow balls with various contents, stored them, and the put them out in the gallery to melt and reveal their content.
Its all about using what's actually there, but also all about time and how impermanent the world is. Nothing we see, not the rocks, not the mountains, not even the sea, will last for ever. Ok, ok, and the point is???? Ok. The first piece in this film is filmed before dawn, in Newfoundland. Goldworthy is out with a little bowl of water, and he's collected a bunch of carrot-sized icicles, and he's breaking them into segments and using the water to stick them back together to make an arc that starts and ends on the side of a big rock down by the ocean- like a letter C stuck to the rock as if: / C| / then the camera pulls back and you can see he's made a series of these, like the old arrow-though the head gag, a series of loops on both sides of the rock
so it looks like the icicle is threaded back and forth through the rock and the at the top it turns and goes up a couple of feet straight up. Nice. He's got gloves but he's working with bare fingers because he gets better control of the ice pieces that way. It looks COLD. Just as he's about to take the picture, the sun comes up, its been twilight as he's been working, and the sunlight falls on the icicle pieces and they turn on with the golden light as if they're neon tubes or something like that... completely unexpected.
I find this charming, and it may not be the best piece in the film. Maybe the failures, the stack of rocks that keeps collapsing, the screen of sticks pinned together with thorns that a tiny breeze destroys, are the best. Good lesson for kids- some ideas don't work out- give it your best, and if it isn't going to happen, do something else. Its like going back 50,000 years to when art and engineering and science were more or less the same thing... What happens to the gallery wall he covers with mud is so cool I'm not going to reveal it. Suffice to say, its really, really, cool. Goldsworthy is playful, but also thoughful and direct.
In Berkeley, California, this was the Star Wars of documentaries- it ran for 6 months in a theater on Shattuck. That's whare I first saw it.
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.