Eye For Film >> Movies >> Rivers And Tides (2001) Film Review
Rivers And Tides
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Never trust an artist who knows. The creative act is experimental, transient, of the moment. Who can answer the question, why? Who asks it? Who announces completion to an endeavour that has no beginning and no ending? As rivers run, as lives pass, as summers retreat into autumn, art is but a reflection glimpsed in the blink of eye.
Thomas Riedelsheimer's film of a year in the life of Andy Goldsworthy reveals the motivation, thoughts and activity of a uniquely private man. He is known and honoured for meticulously crafted works that are made and, for the most part, remain under trees, on beaches, in fields, before nature, or time, reclaims them.
He will construct a snake of leaves that flows down a river, a cone of bleached wood that will float away on the tide, a bracken sculpture that is broken by the wind. "It doesn't feel at all like destruction," he says. "Total control can be the death of a work." He will spend the early morning in Nova Scotia, half frozen, with bare hands, constructing a spiral of icicles that will melt in the noonday sun. "When I make a work, I take it to the very edge of its collapse," he says. And, often, beyond.
Riedelsheimer, a young German cinematographer, is not attempting to explain the process of what it is to be an artist, or rather, this particular artist, who works outdoors, alone, all the year round - look at his hands, see the damage that has been done. He is recording how instinctual ideas are transformed into objects of astonishing beauty, over and over again.
"I don't think the earth needs me at all," Goldsworthy says. "But I need it."
Riedelsheimer's camerawork and editing is supremely confident and richly perfect. It will be hard to imagine another documentary on the artistic condition that comes close to Rivers And Tides. Having, as your subject, a man as humble and thoughtful and eloquent as Goldsworthy is a gift, of course, but knowing how to use him, or present his work - the single stone cone in an art gallery looks so out of place - is where the director's talent lies.Reviewed on: 18 Sep 2003
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