Goldsworthy’s work is an inquiry into the relationship between people and the landscapes they inhabit. To this point, he says the following:My intention is not to improve nature but to know it—not as a spectator but as a participant, I do not wish to mimic nature, but to draw on the energy that drives it so that it drives my work also. My art is unmistakably the work of a person—I would not want it otherwise—it celebrates my human nature and a need to be physically and spiritually bound to the earth.
When pressed concerning the fact that his work does, in fact, rework nature, Goldsworthy replies as follows:It is the way of nature to be used, worked and touched. All of nature here has been touched; the Japanese landscape by centuries of rice cultivation, these mountains by plantation forestry, all are in some way affected, and my art doesn’t hide that fact. We all touch nature and we are a part of this process of interaction and change, we rely on each other. This is a good thing if it’s done well, with respect, and I celebrate this in my art: the act of touching and the way the landscape changes.