Thursday, March 27, 2003


Directed by German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer, Rivers and Tides is a documentary about 47-year-old Scottish environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy. Shot over the course of a year, it details his numerous pieces which basically are comprised of things he finds in nature such as ice, rocks, flowers, leaves, even wool, that he rearranges and that are transformed by nature which he documents through photos. For instance "Soul of a Tree" is a piece in which he takes little bits of icicles and arranges them in a beautiful spiral around the tree, which eventually will melt, all chronicled through his photos.
Transience is a key theme in Goldsworthy's work - growth and decay, I suppose - which is not a novel concept in art but Goldsworthy's interpretation of this using dandelions or pigeon feathers is pretty awe-inspiring. Interestingly enough he is not only aware the object in nature such as a stone but the things around it like the sun or snow. He considers nature to be forever in a state of change and is keenly sensitive to that.
The film is shot in Nova Scotia, New York State, France and Scotland amongst other places. Galleries are not shown that I recall, as his work is primarily all outdoors with the exception of an interior in France. Goldsworthy is a solitary, soft spoken guy who talks about his need to have a lot of time alone and that people drain him. The short segment of the film where he is with his family is pretty much the only time you see him interacting with people although he does briefly chat with some guys at a diner when he is in the States working on a commission. The film is mostly Goldsworthy and nature and his discussion of his work. It's a quiet little film. Not the most exciting film of the year but one of the most beautiful.