‘Causa Finalis’, 2012 consist of steel constructions – gates or parts of gates in different sizes and shapes – leaning against the wall, resting on cushions, lying on the floor, and standing on top of carpets: a temporary repository. On the one hand the structures’ forms might resemble minimalist sculpture, yet their decorative counterparts found in the textiles’ prints, give way to a different reading. Through a process of abstraction and translation, I derived these forms from the eighteenth century topiary garden designed by the Scottish architect Robert Lorimer (1864-1929) for Earlshall Castle in Scotland. At first sight, one could imagine topiary – the cutting and shaping of ever greens into specific forms – to have gone out of fashion a long time ago, as one of the carpets perhaps indicates: in 1713, with his satirical enumeration of possible topiary, English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744), announced a turning point in the then popular topiary. With his mock inventory: ‘The Tower of Babel, not yet finished’; ‘St George in box; his arm scarce long enough, but will be in condition to stick the dragon by next April’, he heralded a more natural form of landscaping to come into fashion, only for topiary to come back into fashion again with the Cottage Garden and the Arts and Crafts Movement, advocated a.o. by Lorimer.
text, Laurie Cluitmans
Recently the art of topiary seems increasing pertinent a discipline to me. Especially in today’s media driven society in which perception increasingly becomes fragmented and truncated, there are two aspects in topiary, which assume antagonistic qualities. Firstly its time, it could take up to 30 years to become fully formed. Secondly its dedication and focus. By working with Topiary I deliberately try to posit the idea that an artwork needs not be about the immediate, the now, or the spectacular. This being the case then art does not have to be constantly in need of attention or appeal to be looked at and thus is free to speak in different tones or at moments even not at all. All of which frees art from the romantic pressure to provide the escape from the deadlock of the systems in which we live and allows it to speak in its own voice.
This exhibition was supported with a development budget from the Amsterdams fonds voor de kunst
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