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Rivers and Tides
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Acts as a true, evolving 'special effect.'"
4 stars

A veritable “art” film, a documentary on Andy Goldsworthy, an artist specializing in organic art, the construction of organic art in nature, and often nature’s act of naturally taking it back.

Goldsworthy, a Scot, travels around making his pieces for both himself and those commissioned, by creating sculpture-like objects in nature, from nature — i.e., an annular, self-contained and held formation of slabs of rock, building what looks like an egg, or as he calls it, a seed. And he does these anywhere: on the shore (where it will get swallowed by the tide, not necessarily affected), by the side of the road, in his pastures (where the cows can get a back-rub). Some of the smaller objet d’arts are more easily taken back in by nature — the zigzagging ice sculpture twisting in and out of a jutting rock (melting away); small hollow wood pieces quilted together, hanging from a tree (broken by the wind); a dome of tree branches and twiggy items (carried away by the tide). (The zigzags show up most often; “There are these obsessive forms in nature you can’t get rid of.”) And you can feel his frustration when something doesn’t stack up as planned; twice in a row as he begins his “seed,” the slabs collapse, the sand sinks, the approaching tide not helping to bide time. (He yells at the director to help him fetch rocks rather than film.) The pieces are staggeringly beautiful as well as filmed with staggering beauty. The visuals speak for themselves (and often better than the artist, attempting to put into words what is ineffable), gorgeously filmed by editor/director Thomas Riedelsheimer: unnatural occurrences provided by nature’s own ingredients. Riedelsheimer constructs staunch compositions, using a photographer’s eye as good as Goldsworthy’s, of which truly focus on the art and the artist’s persistence and creativity. Certain experiments not only appeal to the eye, but the imagination, almost in a way like, “Hey, I can do that, too,” while other artistic expressions clearly display Goldsworthy’s dexterity — and patience — as an artist. And the visual display, here and there with the apropos accompaniment of time condensed shots (to illustrate the self-deterioration and erosion) acts as a true “special effect.”


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originally posted: 12/29/03 10:05:09
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User Comments

1/08/04 Mark F. A lovely potrait of an interesting artist 5 stars
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Directed by
  Thomas Riedelsheimer

Written by
  Thomas Riedelsheimer

  Andy Goldsworthy

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