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Chalk Stone Series, Andy Goldsworthy

Pallant House interior with rock artwork by Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy, Chalk Stone Series, Chalk stones, Copyright courtesy of the Artist

At a glance

Artist: Andy Goldsworthy

Date: 2002

Materials: Chalk stone

Acquisition: Purchased from the artist with the help of grant funding from the National Art Collections Fund and Victoria & Albert Museum (2003-4)


This installation by Andy Goldsworthy was made from locally-quarried chalk. Using a flint stone, the naturally weathered grey outer surface has been ‘etched’ by the artist to reveal the white chalk beneath. This work was part of a site-specific commission by Pallant House Gallery which was situated in the surrounding countryside. Goldsworthy created a path made out of chalk which was to be used at night, as chalk is particularly luminous.

He remarked on the specific qualities of chalk as opposed to the rock formation of where he grew up in Yorkshire, ‘dig a hole up North and it’s black and stony and earthy. So to dig a hole in Sussex and find chalk, so absolutely pristine and pure and white, […] was like finding the sky in the ground.’ The brightness of the chalk would act as a guiding light to those who encountered it in the countryside, leading the walker to a place they wouldn’t normally go.

Andy Goldsworthy works with natural materials including rocks, ice, leaves and branches, documenting the passage of time in nature. He often uses photography to record changes in the landscape.

Goldsworthy was born in Cheshire and spent his teenage years as a farm labourer before going on to study art at Bradford College of Art. He became associated with the Environmental Art movement alongside Richard Long and Chris Drury, a group which incorporated natural materials and processes into their work. These artists were characterised by a rejection of the art market and an increased awareness of the human impact on the environment.