Andy GoldsworthyClay Window, Clay Steps Born in Cheshire in 1956, Andy Goldsworthy has lived and worked in southwest Scotland for over twenty years.
Goldsworthy is interested in how nature and buildings share similar states, and similar fates. He believes that landscapes don’t stop where buildings start – that the forces of erosion and change that occur in landscapes are also at work in towns. As nature degenerates, re-cycles and revives, so do buildings become a part of that powerful moment when things grow out of decay.
For Folkestone Triennial 2014 Goldsworthy has made 2 new works, Clay Window and Clay Steps. Both are situated in one of the shops in the Creative Quarter.
Clay Window is first encountered from walking down the Old High Street, where a shop window might be mistaken as having been whitewashed or papered over. However, on closer inspection, the surface behind the glass could be a number of things - Stone? Cement? Clay? Plaster?
Observers are asked to consider possibilities, and imagine whether the surface might crack in unpredictable ways. Over time, the surface will break into fine black veins that will increasingly allow darkness to cut through from inside. The interior of the shop might at first be in total darkness. But here, the surface will break into piercing white fissures, gradually revealing the light and life from the street, with passing shadows that become silently present in the room. The window surface of Clay Window has been coated in white china clay. This has been chosen for its brilliant translucence and its ability to transform from dense mass to falling fragments.
A video of this cracking sequence of the clay can be seen in a nearby location at 64 Tontine Street. This video will record the passing of time, the (economic) tide and the cycle of urban regeneration and decay.
Clay Steps is situated in the doorway to the right of Clay Window. In contrast to the clay used in Clay Window, the heavy, grey gault clay of Clay Steps is solid and strong. The stairs have been covered with gault clay, which was collected from local beaches by people living or working in Folkestone. It was refined and mixed by them over several weeks and they assisted in the sculptures’ installation. This direct connection with the local clay and the local community ensures that the energy of the story continues, and the ideas are kept alive.
Gault clay once provided widespread employment for Folkestone brick makers, and still attracts fossil collectors from around the world. It is as diverse in its history and rich in its composition as the town of Folkestone itself.
Goldsworthy’s use of the different clays - refined white clay and raw gault clay - opens up a further dialogue about the people who have historically inhabited the town.
The flat above 48 The Old High Street is now inhabited by plant life – nature taking over. Nature is already invading the derelict building in the Old High Street and the two installations Clay Window and Clay Steps intentionally make visitors think about the progress of nature and how it affects the social nature of the street.