Andy Goldsworthy

Stalk Line / Brough, Cumbria / 1982


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Not on display
Andy Goldsworthy born 1956
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Image: 405 x 305 mm
Purchased with assistance from the American Patrons of Tate courtesy of If Hummingbird Foundation Inc, Jeanne and Mickey Klein, Mr. and Mrs Joel Mallin and an anonymous donor 2011


Stalk Line / Brough, Cumbria / 1982 1982 is one of a small number of works that Goldsworthy made between 1980 and 1982 in the woodlands near Ilkley, Bentham and Brough in the county of Cumbria. It is a black and white photograph that documents the artist’s efforts to build a vertical line of branches to as great a height as possible. The vertical thrust of the object is emphasized by the low horizon line and the expanse of sky, which dwarfs the figure of the artist who stands in the foreground holding it aloft in his right hand. Typically, the title of the work describes the object, location and date of the artist’s intervention.

Often categorised as a ‘land artist’, Goldsworthy’s work is frequently linked with that of Richard Long (born 1945) and Hamish Fulton (born 1946) in that it directly engages with the natural landscape. Goldsworthy’s practice encompasses gallery-based sculptures and installations using stone, wood and other natural materials, as well as permanent constructions made outside in the landscape – including earthworks and pieces consisting of dry stone walls – and more ephemeral constructions made using ice, leaves, flower petals, sticks and rocks. Although these are by their nature impermanent, they are documented in the form of photographs and texts.

Goldsworthy has written about the significance of photography in his work, most notably in the survey of his career Hand to Earth, published in 2004:

Taking the photograph is not a casual act. It is very demanding and a balance is kept in which documentation does not interrupt the making. Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit in that moment. A drawing or painting would be too defined. The photographs leave the reason and spirit of the work outside.
(Goldsworthy 2004, p.9.)

Further reading
Andy Goldsworthy, Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture 1976–1990, London 2004.

Helen Delaney
May 2010

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