Thursday, 16 February 2012

Suspended Leaf Installation


Finished Piece
The isolated pine tree became our focal point as it was the only one of its type on our site. Our immediate impression was that the tree was being ‘suffocated’ by the other trees, evoking a pre-existing feeling of being enclosed. Standing beneath the tree itself, the soft pine needles underfoot was soft, whilst the low branches offered shelter and calm.

Inspired by the works of Andy Goldsworthy, his method of letting nature alter his work and Cornelia Parker’s suspension technique, we wanted to create a barrier or enclosure surrounding the pine tree by suspending leaves, transforming the supposed tranquility into a dramatic chaos, whilst exploring the way nature interacts with and decomposes our sculpture over time. 

 Maquette

Our design explored different elements of composition. As our focus is on a natural form, we wanted an organic shape which would be radial and asymmetric opposed to the linear forms I created whilst exploring composition. The result was a shallow and spiraling curve of leaves from the base of the tree, resembling a vortex and when leaves are blown by the wind. 

Design Sketches
A sign was developed to further embrace our artistic vision. With a frame made of pine and planks of birch plywood forming the face, joined together by finger joints. This man made, rigid and linear artifact juxtaposed against our organic sculpture creates a fascinating contrast in form as well as process: weaving natural leaves by hand compared to making the sign by sawing, drilling and screwing processed wood. 


The leaves collected were dead and decaying from species of trees which surrounded this pine to further instigate this idea of ‘suffocation’. We decided to use fishing wire which in itself is an illusion used for fishing; the invisible element aids in creating an additional enclosure or ‘trap’ which is not seen until the viewer is engulfed by it. 

 Suspension Details

As the lower branches of the tree rather flexible, it enhanced our sculpture by giving it fluidity and the ability to be moved, affected and shaped by the wind. Whilst the chains are attached rather firmly by vertical threads, individual leaves are also hung from the mesh- these being free to move and be distorted.

Our sculpture was successful in evoking a playful, yet dramatic response and over the period of the week, the effects of the wind were clearly visible, reshaping our man-made sculpture, destroying the unnatural composition and returning it to nature.

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