Monday, September 19, 2011

Land Art

Most of Andy Goldsworthy’s site-specific sculptures are founded on impermanence. The art piece is constructed, photographed, and finally left to the will of the environment in which it was built. What I find beautiful, and yet still slightly disconcerting, about these constructions is that their manipulations of natural objects produce forms that will (most likely) never have “naturally” occurred on their own. Theoretically, it is possible that such an arrangement of leaves could arise out of some chance event. As if nature weren’t beautiful by its own right, what makes this display of red leaves more pleasing than one in which they are randomly strewn about? The photograph, too, is as central to the whole art piece as the sculpture itself. In his “Philosophy” on the artist’s website, he states, “There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.” Goldsworthy could have just as easily constructed his art in the middle of a field or forest and left it as is, to either decompose or withstand the forces of nature. Through photography, however, the sculpture is captured at the height of its development, frozen in time in print, despite the actual deconstruction it might be undergoing.

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