Saturday, July 6, 2013


land art work of pebbles by andy goldsworthy

 Andy Goldsworthy

Land art, earthworks or earth art is an art movement that started in october 1968, in which landscape and the work of art are inextricably linked. It is also an art form that is created in nature, using natural materials such as soil, rocks, logs, branches, leaves and water with introduced materials such as concrete, metal, asphalt, or mineral pigments. Sculptures are not placed in the landscape, rather, the landscape is the means of their creation. Often earth moving equipment is involved. The works frequently exist in the open, located well away from civilization, left to change and erode under natural conditions. They also pioneered a category of art called site-specific sculpture, designed for a particular outdoor location.

Land art is to be understood as an artistic protest against the perceived artificiality, plastic aesthetics and ruthless commercialization of art at the end of the 1960’s in America.
Exponents of land art rejected the museum or gallery as the setting of artistic activity and developed monumental landscape projects which were beyond the reach of traditional transportable sculpture and the commercial art market.
Nowadays in most respects 'land art' has become part of mainstream public art, James Turrell an american artist primarily concerned with light and space, at the moment has exhibitions simultaneously in three major us museums.
Light and space scupture by artist James Turrell

 James Turrell
Land art was inspired by, and many of the artists associated with land art had been involved with minimal art and conceptual art and minimalism.

Perhaps the best known artist who worked in this genre was the American Robert Smithson whose 1968 essay "the sedimentation of the mind: earth projects" provided a critical framework for the movement. His best known piece, and probably the most famous piece of all land art, is the spiral jetty (1970) Great Salt Lake in northern Utah, U.S.
land art sculpture by Robert Smithson spiral jetty

spiral jetty

'Land artists' have tended to be american, with other prominent artists in this field including, Carl Andre, Alice Aycock, Walter de Maria, Hans Haacke, Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Dennis Oppenheim, Andrew Rogers and James Turrell.

Land artists in America rely mostly on wealthy patrons and private foundations to fund their often costly projects. Michael Heizer's « levitated mass » at the lacma has a price tag of around $ 10 million and Turrell’s roden crater (started in 1972), possibly the largest piece of land art thus far, reshaping the earth surrounding the extinct Roden Crater Volcanoin Arizona,is supposed to cost as much as $ 22 million when finished.

Land art sculpture levitated mass at LACMA by Michael Heizer

 Michael Heizer - Levitated Mass

European land artists or people associated with this art form, such as Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, seem to steer away from large, costly projects
To achieve artworks that in their simplicity have a very powerful and poetic presence.

Andy goldsworthy is a british artist whose collaborations with nature produce uniquely personal and intense artworks. Using a seemingly endless range of natural materials—snow, ice, leaves, bark, rock, clay, stones, feathers petals, twigs—he creates outdoor sculpture that manifests, however fleeting, a sympathetic contact with the natural world. Before they disappear, or as they disappear, goldsworthy, records his work in suburb color photographs.

Land art sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy leaves

                                                                 Andy Goldsworthy
In his own words;
At its most successful, my ‘touch’ looks into the heart of nature; most days i don’t even get close. These things are all part of the transient process that i cannot understand unless my touch is also transient—only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process complete. I cannot explain the importance to me of being part of the place, its seasons and changes. Fourteen years ago i made a line of stones in morecambe bay. It is still there, buried under the sand, unseen. All my work still exists in some form.
You can see more of Goldsworthy's work in the documentary "Rivers and Tides"

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