I’ve finished my draft of the essay for Assignment 4, having chosen to focus on Andy Goldsworthy’s ephemeral sculptures and his use of/relationship with photography. I wanted to take a bit of time to reflect on the research process and my approach to the essay.
Comments or thoughts on, Richard Long:Curator’s Talk, by Clarrie Wallis.
‘Art as Idea and Art as Action’
‘Interventions within the Landscape – art which was/is located in and made of the landscape.’
Long never makes significant alterations to the landscapes through which he passes.
The forms of his sculptures are simple and straightforward; the line, the cross, the circle and the spiral. He uses only the earth’s natural materials. And the scale of his work is determined by his response to a particular landscape. His work is informed by an interest in symmetry, repetition and measurement.
“Long documents his walks with an image of a location, or text-works or documents.”
Photography used to document journey as well as interaction with a place or natural objects. We are unable to be part of the walk/event itself but are given a ‘snapshot’ of it by his photography. Is this art photography, or is it more documentation? Does long deliberate over the composition of the photographs or is it a simple point and shoot and then move on?
‘Photography indispensable – direct, rough and black and white.’ Initially saw photographs as ‘documentary material, and not actually the work itself’. Photography became an art work medium for Long over time – a meeting with John Gibson prompted him to enlarge his small photographs, and turn the photographs into pieces to be exhibited. This was a marked shift for Long from seeing and using Photography out of necessity to seeing it as Art.
Text Pieces – use of language bridges gap between artists physical work and peoples perception of it – again this suggests making something conceptual more accessible to public audience.
On the subject of place – Clarrie Wallis makes the interesting observation that his work exists in ‘two territories’, the ‘territory of ideas and the territory of materials’.
Has never identified himself as a land-artist, ‘says with hindsight I see my work having as much to do with conceptualism..and even minimalism.’
Desire to relocate sculpture from the studio and into the natural world – is this also about making art more accessible to the public?
Further Research into land art:
Watched: Forest,Field & Sky: Art of Nature,by Dr.James Fox [accessed 1/06/2016]
Andy Goldsworthy featured heavily in the programme by Dr.Fox. One particularly poignant part of the programme showed Goldsworthy working on a piece creating a dry stone wall inside of a hollowed out oak tree. Much of his work is ephemeral but this piece was the extreme of that, he re-made the piece three times before reaching near the top of the trunk only for it to collapse again. I couldn’t help but think capturing this process with photographs would extend the ‘life’ of the piece, allowing what he did achieve to be captured and enjoyed for beyond the short life of the piece in location.
There are extensive examples of/photographs of Andy Goldsworthy’s work on the Visual Melt Website. If these images are something to go by he makes extensive use of colour photography to document his work, sometimes even capturing the process of making the art work.
The episode followed the preparation and creation of recent piece, Hollow, which is installed in the Royal Fort Gardens, Bristol.
So the piece isn’t really a good example of photography as art but is an interesting example of land art. Watching the programme helped me understand the vast scale and amount of effort that went into making this piece, or installation. It’s constructed from 10,000 different species of tree’s from across the history of our planet. It’s a different approach to land art, in that the materials have been taken from their natural habitat and turned into a fairly permanent looking piece. It takes tree’s that would not have been together (literally separated by time and space) and creates a strange hybrid forest.