What kind of ‘image’ of nature is it that surrounds us in our contemporary urban environment? What does the pattern on you’re bed spread tell you about utopian ideals? What does the landscaping of your local recreation area tell you about a Constitution? How can we approach the intersection of an understanding and appreciation of the representational history of landscape, and a desire to keep making and looking?
For my second open studios at the Rijksakademie I decided to use the studio as a kind of viewing platform; to remove the glass from the windows and place sculptures on the lawn below. A gesture of bringing the outside in, but at the same time an invitation to go the windows and look beyond.
The second part of the installation is a set window bars like the ones you would have to stop people from being able to enter the building at night. Their design, like that of the topiary formwork sculptures beyond the windows, mirroring the forms of the trees at Earlshall.
The topiary formworks are designed after three tress in Earlshall castle, Scotland. The original trees were designed and planted in 1893. These unique trees could be considered a very early, perhaps visionary, example of abstraction. Their design more indicative of abstract sculpture from the first half of the 20th century than classical topiary. This abstract reflection on such a concrete subject, the tree, I find a pertinent example of how we could with more nuance reflect upon the type of ‘nature’ we are constructing. The sculptures I created are formworks and therefore, given enough time with a tree planted inside and annually maintained, create a replica of the trees of Earlshall. I have been distilling the formal language of the trees at Earlshall down into a kind of alphabet, which I used when creating the window bars. During the day while the show is on, the window bars lean against the back wall of the studio opposite the windows. During the night while the exhibition is closed the bars hang in the windows illumated by façade lighting.
Download RijksakademieOPEN 2012 in PDF.