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Passage

by Andy Goldsworthy

ISBN 0810955865 / 9780810955868 / 0-8109-5586-5
Publisher Harry N. Abrams
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

To achieve the quiet beauty of his art, Andy Goldsworthy spends long hours in rough weather, engaged in a tug-of-war with nature. He wrestles heavy stones on top of one another to form tall, egg-shaped landmarks known as cairns. He painstakingly covers fallen logs with bright golden bands of Dutch elm leavesa last hurrah for a proud species decimated by disease. He pulverizes white chalk to lay a long, wandering path in the woods that gleams in the moonlight. Works like these are as much about the transience of life as they are about a sense of place and the pleasures of color, light and form. In Passage, the British artist's latest book, he once again provides diary excerpts that chronicle his daily successes and failures. The lush color photographs he takes to document peak moments of the birth, glory and decay of his art are as beautiful as ever. Unlike the other books, however, Passage--which begins in 2000 and darts back and forth over the next few years--is shadowed by a more urgent sense of mortality. Goldworthy's recently deceased father is in his thoughts, and a major project he tackles is the memorial Garden of Stones for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. The garden's giant boulders pose many difficulties--finding the right ones, acquiring them, moving them, experimenting with cutting processes and coping with the elderly stonecutter's frequent tantrums. Hollowed out, the stones will be filled with trowels of earth (a ritual recalling burial) and tiny oak saplings, symbolic of life. "The partnership between tree and stone will be stronger for the tree having grown from the stone, rather than being stuck into it," Goldsworthy writes in his straightforward style. (An essay about this project by the historian Simon Schama, previously published in The New Yorker, is one of several pieces by other writers included in the book.) Once again, Goldsworthy succeeds in showing how seemingly simple ideas and actions can deeply engage both natural forces and human emotions. Cathy Curtis [via]