Thursday, July 21, 2011

stone as a memorial and primordial “living” thing: “Cairns”

photographs by versluis, 2010

Top: the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa and the original building designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1948. The exterior is claded with white-gray “golden” Lannon stone (a dense limestone). The ends of the entry arch seem to be pulled gently, by gravity, back to the base grade.

Below: The Three Cairns, 2002 (partial views) at the Des Moines Art Center is by British artist Andy Goldsworthy (born 1956, Cheshire, England). The middle photo is a detail of the counter part. Goldsworthy’s sculptural “Cairns” are site-specific installation pieces, which are built with indigenous materials. In this case, Goldsworthy uses Iowa (dolomite) limestone that was chosen to correlate with Saarinen’s original building.

This passage by Goldsworthy seems to provide insight into The Three Cairns, “Stone has shown me things about the structure of growth. I have found an energy in stone that can best be described as a seed that becomes taut as it opens.” [1]

Stones are primordial things that can be exposed on the surface of the land or lay hidden down under in the soil. A stone can be revealed, gradually, by being pushed out from beneath the earth by wind, rain, and erosion — or natural forces within the earth itself.

  1. Goldsworthy, Andy. Wood. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1996. 23. Print.

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