“At a moment when the destruction of the world’s forests is accelerating at a record pace, Among the Trees brings together the work of leading international artists who urge us to think about the essential roles that trees and forests play in our lives and psyches. Hopefully, visitors leave the exhibition with a renewed sense of appreciation for both the beauty and complexity of these indispensable organisms,” says Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward Gallery and curator of the exhibition.
Indeed, human activity is destroying everything around us: from sea to air, to land and every living organism in any of them. Despite the pressing urgency to tackle issues affecting humankind at large, such as pollution, climate change, and the unequal distribution of resources, most governments and big companies around the world are still too focused on economic growth and profit. But Among the Trees and the artists exhibited hope to change people’s mindsets to start taking action.
Carefully thought as a journey across the globe, the artworks reflect the realities of various corners of our planet: Colombian rainforests, jungles in Japan, olive orchards in Israel, Scandinavian woods and an underground forest in South Africa, among others, which help us question “our conventional representations of trees in order to forge new ways of understanding our crucial and multifaceted relationship with arboreal life.”
All this, divided into three sections: in the first, visitors encounter images of trees and forests that call attention to characteristics of complexity and connectivity in nature, chiming with recent scientific discoveries about the ‘wood wide web.’ The second part features works that play with the blurring line between our concepts of nature and culture. And finally, in the third section, artists explore the theme of time.
From a monumental sculpture cast from a 2,000-year-old olive tree by Ugo Rondinone to a cinematic portrait of a 30-metre-high spruce tree by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and a vast forest of trees constructed entirely from cardboard by Eva Jospin, Among the Trees will sure make you connect, or reconnect, with Mother Nature, all the while being beautiful, reflective and informative.