Dry granite stone dyke, H: 1.6m x L: 38m two loops of 15m and 17m
Commande of the Centre d’art (owner Ciap) in 1992
Born in England in 1956, Andy Goldsworthy lives and works in Dumfriesshire in Scotland.
Andy Goldsworthy conceived this work on the Island based on the history and geographical nature of the site and the artificial lake.
“The British landscape is rich in dry-stone dykes surrounding the fields. Their influence on my work has been greater than the circles of prehistoric stone that I occasionally visit. Dykes are living elements in the landscape and they are a great lesson for a sculptor, the way that they use material and place. It is a great lesson for sculptors. The sheep pens have their origins in those built by shepherds to shelter th
eir herds. I love to go inside them sometimes to shelter from the wind blowing in these hills. The place grows intense and calm with the dykes that delimit it, one feels protected there.
“At Vassivière I worked on the remains of a wall that once delimited a field but now, since the artificial lake was built, emerges from a wood and submerges in the water. I explored the frontier between the lake and the wood with the help of a wall that in itself is a frontier. It encloses the two spaces and accentuates their contrast. The differences between space and light in the two places emphasize the changes that have taken place. The wall evokes the sadness that one can feel for the eight villages that were drowned, but without objecting to the dam. Its presence lets one understand the nature of Vassivière. The past gives a work roots and attunes it with the place.
“I have never worked in a place that was suddenly transformed like Vassivière – today one still feels the impact – where nature, for all the transformation brought about, is still so powerful. The dyke rises above a bank revealed by the re-encounter of two natures – wood and water – and by the fluctuations caused by the dam, the climate and the seasons.”