On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.
This German documentary, in English, is about a Scottish environmental sculptor named Andy Goldsworthy. He makes art from objects he finds in nature. For example, early in the film we see him taking sections of icicles and "gluing" them together with a little moisture into a serpentine shape that seems to repeatedly go through a vertical rock.
Of course, the icicles melt, but that transience is a part of most of Goldsworthy's work. He goes to a site and gets a feeling for it, deciding intuitively what to make that day. He talks of having a "dialog" with the rocks and other materials that he works with, attempting to work *with* rather than against them. It might be stones, or flowers, or leaves, or sticks. The sculpture might last for minutes or years, or might not even last long enough to be completed and photographed. The work seems to be more of a process than a goal.
The film, and the work, is beautiful, inspiring, and thought provoking. It moves pretty slowly, which is appropriate for the material, but you should be sure to go when you have had a good night's sleep. But do go if you have the opportunity.
Search the web for some other pages about Andy Goldsworthy or to read about his local sculpture at Stanford University. There are also several books available with photographs of his sculptures.
My thoughts: Skip reading this part if you want to find what this film means to you completely independently. I recall a couple of ideas that occurred to me while watching the film which I thought I would share for those of you still reading. First, the transitory nature of much of Andy Goldsworthy's work reminded me of the natural ebb and flow of human life. We're born, we live, and eventually we die. That's natural, and that's also naturally a part of Goldsworthy's art.
The other thought was to be awestruck with the way that Goldsworthy has managed to integrate his passion and his work so thoroughly into his life. Most of us have work which is tolerated at best, a life which we hardly notice living, and passions which we really mean to spend more time on, if we even remember what they are. Andy Goldsworthy has managed to create an amalgam of all of these aspects of his life that looks like it works very well, and is nourishing for him and those around him. Wow.
Seen on 8/28/2002.
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