Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature

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My approach to the photograph is kept simple – says Andy Goldsworthy – almost routine. All work, good and bad is documented. I use standard film, lenses and no filters. Taking the photograph is not a casual act. It is very demanding and a balance is kept in which documentation does not interrupt the making. Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit in that moment. A drawing or painting would be too defined. The photographs leave the reason and spirit of the work outside. They are not the purpose but the result of my art. As Yves Klein said of his monochrome paintings: ‘They are the left-overs from the creative process, the ashes. My pictures, after all, are only the title deeds to my property which I have to produce when I am asked o prove that I am a proprietor.’

That art should be permanent or impermanent is not the issue. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature and should not be confused with an attitude towards art generally. I have never been against the well made or long lasting.

The photograph does not need to shrivel and fall to the ground for change to be part of purpose. It is an outdoor experience expressed in an indoor place which uses the conventions of that place to keep its meaning clear. It is appropriate to that space as it would be inappropriate to hang a framed photograph from a tree in a wood.

If the photograph represents the work alive, then work brought indoors becomes its husk. Much of the energy is lost: stones become isolated and leaves dry out …yet there is still enough meaning left. Not only does such work explore the relationship between indoor and outdoor alongside the image, it emphasises the physicalness of what I do.

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