Leaning into the Wind – Andy Goldsworthy is a reunion between the artist Andy Goldsworthy and film director Thomas Riedelsheimer, who also made the 2001 film about Goldsworthy and his art, Rivers and Tides – Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time. For those who have seen the earlier film, this will be both familiar and different, because of some of the changes in Goldsworthy’s approach to his art.
Goldsworthy focuses his art on nature and time. Many of his works are momentary. Others are more permanent (although even those are designed to change over time). The art work done here may cause some to consider just what makes art. Is it something that is seen by others, or is it still art if it is only a moment with just Goldsworthy and the camera present? And what of the things he does without the camera present? For example, one of his works is walking through a row of bushes, unseen, except for the movement of the bushes. That certainly fits with his connection with nature and the way we interact with nature.
Because time, decay, and change are key elements of Goldsworthy’s work, it is very interesting that he came across a large fallen tree near his home, which he views as something he will be creating art with for the rest of his life. As the tree decays that will affect things he has done with that tree. And then when others come and take some of the branches, others are also affecting his art.
One of the ways time is affecting his work on a larger level is that his daughter is now working with him to create art. We see them go to a college campus and painstakingly use leaves and flower petals to make a line going up a flight of stairs. Their interaction becomes an important piece of the work itself.
In Rivers and Tides we pick up a bit of the thinking that lies behind his creations. The current film includes some of that, but is a bit less verbal, relying on viewers to have some familiarity with his work and his philosophy of art. Watching the earlier film before viewing the current one would be helpful—especially if unfamiliar with his work.
Because I was so taken with Rivers and Tides I was looking forward to seeing this new film. I again enjoyed watching Goldsworthy’s process and the unique art that he creates—even if it only momentary. But I didn’t have the strong emotional reaction to Leaning into the Wind as I did to the first film. A large reason for that could well be that with the first film I was in awe of Goldsworthy’s vision of art in nature and the way he used time itself as one of the media of his art. He has gone into some new, interesting directions, but it just doesn’t seem as amazing this time through, because I had a good idea what to expect beforehand.
Photos courtesy of Magnolia Pictures