For many of us sheltering in place right now, our lived space has been reduced to our home and to nature. Time itself seems to have a new register. These essential elements make me think of artist
Andy has been closely connected to the National Gallery of Art since 2003, when we began the process of commissioning his work
I kept thinking how we need to hear from Andy now. So, I asked him if we could do something for our website. Photographs of his ephemeral works are often private, but he was keen to share via video his suite of SWEPT DRAWINGS. In the video, Andy performs the humble, everyday act of sweeping a dusty shed near his home in Scotland. As birds chirp and lambs bleat in the background, he employs his broom as a tool to push the dust into his signature lines, making nine “drawings” over the course of a week. Light and shadows come and go as the camera bears witness to the delineation of new forms.
Andy described and dedicated the work in the following statement:
I am fortunate to live in a place that I can walk out of my door into fields, woods and hills where I have worked over the past 24 years (when not travelling). Out of solidarity with those who are not able to do this—as well as in support of front-line workers who have to leave their homes—I feel that I should make the most of my work at this time within, or near to, my home.
Cleaning and sweeping are simple, everyday acts—common to us all.
I have done nine swept “drawings” so far, with probably more to come, filmed as the works were being made—each film is about 40 mins long—single shot unedited (apart from the beginning and end).
This work is being shown in its entirety—total length a little more than 5 hours.
It does not have to be watched as you would a movie—more something to be lived with as you would a painting or sculpture.
The nine drawings made of dust are situated in a long narrow space, like the site occupied by the nine domes in Roof. Watching the video calls to mind the slow action of raking a Japanese rock garden, like the one that had occupied the site prior to Roof. Of course, as Andy suggests, the five-hour video need not be watched all the way through. It can play in the background and be returned to as the process unfolds. Andy’s SWEPT DRAWINGS offer a thoughtful interlay between previous and present moments.
We hope you enjoy the work. Thank you for sharing this, Andy.
See other works by Andy Goldsworthy in the collection of the National Gallery of Art and to learn more about him.