I have long been a fan of Andy Goldsworthy's site specific environmental art made with natural materials and designed to change with the elements until the art blurs into nature. About sixteen years ago I saw Rivers and Tides a film directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer which focussed on Goldsworthy's artworks and I was delighted to get the chance to see Leaning into the Wind, another collaboration between artist and film maker.
The film also took us across the globe, including San Francisco, Brazil,
Spain and France, showcasing various site specific works Goldsworthy
has made using rocks or plant based materials.
Some wonderful artworks feature in this film. I was particularly impressed by the work that Goldsworthy has been doing with a fallen elm tree that lies across a stream in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland (where the artist is currently based). Every year he creates a new installation around the tree. I was very interested in what he said about the yellow of the autumnal elm leaves being slightly different every year and how if hard rains are followed by hard frost at just the wrong time then all the leaves go black and there is no more yellow that year. I also loved the way he 'painted' rocks in the river with the fallen leaves gathered from nearby elm trees. It was clear that not only do the elements play a part in weathering and completing his work, but in this case the wind made it very difficult to create the work in the first place, with leaves blowing all over the place as he tried to complete the piece.
My other favourite artwork is made up of the footprints sheep
made on a sheet that had been laid under a large bowl of sheep feed. The
sheep unwittingly becoming the artists.
I started to wonder though how environmentally friendly some of his installations are. One piece involved crawling through a hedgerow breaking branches and twigs, which certainly seemed more destructive than artistic.
I have to admit to leaving the film feeling less wholeheartedly enthusiastic about Goldsworthy's work. Having said that, at his best, he provokes our thinking about our relationship with nature in interesting ways, which in this day and age can only be a good thing.
Leaning into the Wind is showing as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival at: 2030 Monday 26 June and 1800 Tuesday 27 June, both at Edinburgh Filmhouse. You can book here.
We're now at the end of the first week of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and here are links to the films I've seen so far:
God's Own Country.
Journey's through Time and Culture (review of Zer, Sami Blood and Donkeyote).
Two Films about our relationship with animals (review of Okja and The Challenge).
Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and attended press screenings of these films.