Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Earthworks: the inspiring land art of Andy Goldsworthy
The Arch project more especially would have them scratching their heads with regard to its concept and execution. Basically, Andy and his assistant towed a trailer of roughly hewn sandstone blocks from where they were quarried in the Scottish lowlands and followed an old drove road through Cumbria, erecting and dismantling the arch at locations en route. These locations were as diverse as a cattle market,Shap High Street,crumbling sheep folds and lay-bys. At intervals Andy was joined by David Craig who captures the essence of the journey in his own inimitable style. But let Andy Goldsworthy himself explain the project...
I will make an arch in Scotland from Locharbriggs red sandstone. It will be erected in a sheepfold on the Lowther Hills near to where I live, after it will follow a drove route from Scotland through Cumbria and into Lancashire or Yorkshire. This is one group of work within the sheepfolds project which will have its origin outside Cumbria yet still leave its mark there, in common with people,animals and things which have passed through this area over the centuries, leaving evidence of their journey but neither coming or staying there.
The arch will stay overnight at folds along or close by the drove route. it will be erected and photographed at each site before being dismantled and taken to the next. Some of the folds (still identifiable on the maps) no longer exist; others are in need of repair.Several virtually derelict wooden folds will be rebuilt in stone, continuing what I see as a tradition of first drawing a fold with rail,fence or posts before it is made in stone. the arch will,wherever possible,leave behind it,a trail of revived working folds, a trail of goodwill.
akin to the atmosphere at a sheep shearing or when a horse is being shod at a smithy'...' When the arch is complete,looking more compact than usual under the lour of the crag,and nearly everyone has gone away, Amy Spillard aged five, dares to clamber up the arch and tiptoes along its crest. She looks like a girl-ghost in an enchanted garden a hundred years ago. All day we have lived in a place which is summer in a nutshell-in a pumpkin rind perhaps,or the calyx of a flower. the sun sinks in the wooded hills to the west,rises to shine full into the dell a few hours before the arch must be dismantled.
Harold Drasdo:'Art cannot improve upon nature'
Interestingly, I happened to mention to our mutual friend Harold Drasdo how much I had enjoyed Andy and David's work and to my surprise, Harold told me he wasn't a fan of Andy Goldsworthy's work. Offering a comment ripe for philosophical discussion 'art cannot improve upon nature'. Sheesh..that's quite a statement!
As I was wandering in the Berwyns the other day I was thinking about this and I came to the conclusion that Andy himself would almost certainly not see his work as improving upon nature, rather as collaborating with nature. It is however something that greater minds than mine will have pondered, that eternal conundrum..'Yes...but is it art?' To my mind however....absolutely! The world can only be a better place with inspired minds like Andy Goldsworthy and David Craig in it as far as I'm concerned.
Ruin of a sheep fold in the Berwyns
Posted by Footless Crow at 3:45 AM