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On Mastery: Andy Goldsworthy’s Rivers and Tides January 3, 2006

Posted by Yvonne in Dynamics of Resistance.

I recommend the DVD “Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time” about the art of Andy Goldsworthy, British environmental artist.

Brilliant and breathtaking. Viewing it, I really got the space of mastery: dedication, focus, patience, holding a vision, simple joy of creating something beautiful and meaningless.



1. Igor William Stalew - February 12, 2006

“For us, film is the greatest of the arts” or so said one of the influential revolutionary leaders of the last century. As a means of expressing ideas in varied forms it is hard to beat the power of moving pictures. Like any other medium it can be used wisely, with elegance and grace or unwisely to exploit or obfuscate truth.

Rivers and Tides is a profound “movie’ experience. It reveals the work of an outstanding artist who has much of value to share. In a time when many of us look both inward and outward to find answers to our increasingly complex lives, Andy Goldsworthy allows us to accompany him on his journey to understand himself and the world.

Many enlightening works have been published with the intention of revealing pathways to self realization. Two such works come to mind, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. One explores how living in the present (shielded for the most part from the burdens the past and expectations of the future) is the means of experiencing a full and rich life. The other, how the momentum from these rich and positive experiences propels us forward.

As we follow Andy Goldsworthy on his journey of discovery we experience what it means to live in the present. On one occasion, we observe all of the minute steps involved in creating a large egg shaped sculpture make of found sea stones. On another we are privy to the instant sense of disappointment when many hours of work come abruptly to an end as a hanging sculpture made of small branches falls apart in the wind. Goldworthy’s comment “Well, looks like I have more to learn about the wood.”

Throughout the film we also observe the continuity, flow and sense of accomplishment that comes from being present in any environment. I find this film to be the visual embodiment of the many ideas expressed in the above mentioned and other works. Since first viewing the film some years ago, I find myself screening it again periodically. I basically need to be reminded of it’s wisdom and for me film is also one of “the greatest of the arts”.

I am pleased to find someone else who appreciates this master work. I am also curious about other films that you find of value (from any film genre). My basic criteria for choosing film is that the subject is portrayed with imagination and passion and that it reveals something more about us as individuals and our relations with each other and our environment.

I include 2 examples of short films (music videos) that are made with grace and elegance should you choose to view them. They are both made with a refreshing simplicity.

“You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

“Into My Arms” by Nick Cave

The videos are in Quicktime and both reside on the site called iFilm. Should the above links not work for any reason go to the iFilm site (www.ifilm.com) and search for the artists to find the mentioned titles. Please be aware that you might have to sit thru a short commercial before you get to the work. If you’ve seen “Winged Migration”, Nick Cave did some of the vocals.

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