Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy

 

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Two art forms - sculpture and photography - meet in this sequel to a classic.

 
Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy

  

This second documentary about the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy is a companion piece to 2001's Rivers and Tides and, happily, it is again a work directed, edited and photographed by Thomas Riedelsheimer. Their continued collaboration is welcome because the earlier film revealed two artists totally at one, Goldsworthy so engagingly lacking in airs and graces and Riedelsheimer so evidently a poet of the cinema. Rivers and Tides was a work of exceptional appeal that in time built up a huge following and, ironically, it is the well-remembered brilliance of that film which contributes to the fact that this sequel, beautiful as it is, feels rather disappointing.

 

Apart from his daughter Holly (one of four children), Andy Goldsworthy is the only person seen on screen and age has in no way altered his pleasing personality. But if, last them around, he modestly acknowledged that it was difficult to find words to explain his work, he now admits that since then what he is attempting has become even more complex and less easy to define. The fact that Goldsworthy is a natural communicator meant that for the most part he was able in the first film to make us understand his fascination with nature and his unusual wish to create sculptures out of what could be found on beaches even when the incoming tide would destroy them.

 

Much of his recent art still echoes this, but not infrequently - and particularly when he literally brings his own body into the work - his aims are indeed difficult to grasp. Over the years, the international fame of this British artist has increased and he travels the world in Leaning into the Wind but no background information is supplied as to how his work is actually seen, leaving us in consequence with no clear picture of the extent to which commissions and exhibitions co-exist with the consciously ephemeral outdoor pieces. It's fair enough though that Goldsworthy opts to leave his private life to one side (there is just a passing reference to his outlook and his art being influenced by a personal crisis involving the break-up of his marriage and to the balm of a new relationship). However, there is much about his current artistic outlook that remains tantalisingly out of reach here.

 

If Rivers and Tides had a weakness, it was the arbitrary way in which sequence followed sequence and that remains a drawback here, but I don't want to dwell too much on the downside. Those unfamiliar with Goldsworthy's work should certainly be directed first and foremost to the earlier film, but the many who loved it will relish this chance to renew acquaintance with this strikingly original artist. Furthermore, the other artist here, Riedelsheimer, whose images need no explanation, is again on outstanding form: Leaning into the Wind looks absolutely magnificent and deserves to be seen on the big screen.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  Andy Goldsworthy, Holly Goldsworthy.

 

Dir Thomas Riedelsheimer, Pro Leslie Hills and Stefan Tolz, Ph Thomas Riedelsheimer, Ed Thomas Riedelsheimer, Music Fred Frith.

 

Filmpunkt/Skyline Productions/ Creative Scotland-Curzon Artificial Eye.
97 mins. UK/Germany. 2016. Rel: 10 August 2018. Cert. PG.