Anya Gallaccio, Some Dreams They Forgot (2003)
In 2003, Anya Gallaccio dug out five conifers from Zeewolde forest and replanted them in a circle, but upside-down. Even in this reversed position, they are able to carry on growing. They will change over time.
Their branches, buried in the soil, will turn into roots and their roots into new crowns. Over the years, these five upside-down trees may blend in with their surroundings, perhaps even to the extent that Gallaccio´s intervention becomes indiscernible. When birds come to nest in their roots and creepers are wound around their trunks, the work of art may well dissolve in the woods. Alternatively, the uprooted trees may turn out to be unviable, in which case they will die sooner and create a clearing in the forest.
Almost all of Gallaccio’s work will decay within the foreseeable future. She usually works with natural and perishable materials: sugar, flowers, fruit or trees. Her sculptures are connected to a specific place and time and start changing from the moment they are made. They are living works of art that exhibit natural processes of growth and decay, both sculptures and slow performances. At the exhibition It’s Unfair (2002) at Museum De Paviljoens, for instance, she pressed pink gerberas between two plates of glass. Visitors could witness how the brightly coloured flowers faded and rotted away. As contemporary vanitas scenes, real-life dying still-lives, they referred to the transience of all existence.
Anya Gallaccio plays with the distinction between nature and culture. She likes to bring nature into the museum. In her work Beat (2002) at Tate Britain, for instance, she put seven 220-year old oak trees in between the paintings. On the other hand, some of her works involve artificial interventions that make nature seem less self-evident. In Some Dreams They Forgot (2003), she draws our attention to the forest itself, both to the trees and to all the other life in and around them. Her intervention will be taken over by nature and eventually overgrown. However, in that respect, it does not essentially differ from the surrounding forest: that too was originally planted by people. Some Dreams They Forgot (2003) is not just the somewhat theatrical image of trees with their roots in the sky. Its artistic aspect lies in the process that was set in motion by Gallaccio’s intervention.
1 In the context of the temporary art project ‘LOOK & FEEL’ (2002–2003) organised by the pavilion of De Verbeelding.
Anya Gallaccio, Some Dreams They Forgot
1963, Paisley, Scotland
Some Dreams They Forgot (2003)
Location: Zeewolde, De Verbeelding Route
De Verbeelding Collection