The Sound of the Fallen Tree
During the past year I have been working on a body of art work in which I try to reveal the intimate relation and permeability that I find between nature, culture and politics and the knowledge that stems from this relationship.
The resulting work was shown recently in Buenos Aires at Ignacio Liprandi Arte Contemporáneo under the name of The sound of the fallen tree. The title of the show refers to the philosophical riddle that raises questions regarding perception and knowledge of reality: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I am not interested in dealing with an answer to this question, but in using it as a shortcut into a poetic dimension.
The sound of the fallen tree (a tree which already fell, rather than being in the act of falling) refers to a state of mind in which the understanding of reality is irrational, emotional and intuitive, a dimension that makes us doubt about what we thought we knew.
The phrase on top of the sticks’ construction -taken from an engineering book- is a rational statement: The process of falling to bits reveals key facts of construction. However, in combination with the shadow it produces, the fragility of the structure that supports it, and how it moves when the spectator walks by, it creates a sense of corporal unbalance that modifies that rational judgment, as the shadow becomes an ominous anticipation of the collapse the phrase warns about.
Construction made out of 1400 2 mm x 2mm pine spruce strips, light projection.
Variable dimensions, approx. 180 x 150 x 200 cm
Edition of 2 (English – Spanish) MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) collection (Spanish version)
Photographs by: 1, ©Ariel Authier 2,3,5 and 6, ©Claudia Fontes 4,7,8 and 9, ©Gustavo Lowry
Installation made out of black cotton thread, museum wax and natural and artificial found objects.
Variable dimensions (as shown in picture, approx. 180 x 240 x 200 cm)
Brighton/Buenos Aires 2011
Black cotton thread, fabric and object.
Song I (object)
180 x 60 x 40 cm
Song II (embroidery)
60 x 40 cm
Brighton/Buenos Aires 2011
1,2,3 and 4 ©Gustavo Lowry
5, 6, 7 and 8 ©Claudia Fontes
A hunting sight-hound is followed by a camera that imitates all his moves while roaming over the Sussex countryside: the pursuing camera tries to catch up when the dog sprints, stops when he stops and dodge trees and obstacles in an attempt at reversing the usual sense of control between dog and trainer. At a point, the dog finally takes control of the point of view, as the camera is attached to his side, and the whole scene becomes chaotic and irrational. The spectator perceives a physical sense of unbalance and loss of control just before being confronted by the animal’s stare.
DVD colour, to be projected on wall
Edition 3+ 1AP
20 x 10 x 5cm
1 ©Claudia Fontes
2 and 3 ©Gustavo Lowry
The What and the How
The What and the How (Berkeley’s tree) refers to a concrete meaningful turning point in the history of thought, speared amongst others by George Berkeley in the XVIII century. The piece quotes a riddle initiated by him and still evolving that refers to the possibility of unperceived existence: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. The piece started being modelled in multiple sessions by a real fallen tree in the woods, initially trying to reconstruct the broken pieces into an upright tree. This raw clay standing tree was taken afterwards to the studio and left to fall, the broken pieces being used to reconstruct the original fallen tree. The choice of material for the piece plays with one of the main properties of porcelain, which is its resonance. The sound of the broken porcelain is therefore trapped in the history of the object and refers to the riddle: what are we able to perceive and how.
Porcelain body flax paper clay
Variable dimensions, about 20 x 130 x 35 cm
Photographs by: ©Gustavo Lowry