Failure and loss.


On a typical autumn day, Andy Goldsworthy can be found in the woods near his home in Penpont, Scotland, maybe cloaking a fallen tree branch with a tapestry of yellow and brown elm leaves, or, in a rainstorm, lying on a rock until the dry outline of his body materializes as a pale shadow on the moist surface. Come winter, he might be soldering icicles into glittering loops or star bursts with his bare fingers.”

Often times Goldsworthy’s work fails and since his art is so temporary: being washed away by the tide, melted by the sun or destroyed by the wind he photographs his pieces to make them more lasting. This is the only way we can witness his efforts. Often his work edges up against the laws of physics and it crumbles or collapses before the final art is complete. If you have ever seen a film of him working the struggle and patience to do what he does is immense.

In an interview Andy was asked, why aren't the failures the art as well? Why isn't the building and filming of that breaking the art as well? After all that seems like an arty idea.
He responded, “Failure isn't really a failure unless there is loss. There cannot be success without failure and failure just isn't real without the pain of loss. If I made the failures the work, how could I ever succeed?"

This idea is wonderful to chew on. These days sometimes we expect failure to be understood by the mind and then we can recover instantly. Sometimes we think I am ok with failure with out ever feeling the deep pain associated with the loss. I want you to fail in your practice, to bend the icicles of your body into loops or starbursts. I want you to cloak your self in the color of autumn leaves. I want you to leave the ordinary and lie down in the realm that exists only on the verge of chaos, on the verge of collapse. Here you can see the unexpected beauty that arrives. If you fail, like Goldsworthy, there will be loss but if you succeed you will become one with the rivers and the tides.

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