The Garden as ART

While sitting by the riverside with a blogger, the subject garden as art came briefly up in the conversation.
Why can’t a garden be a piece of art? There are many and many more examples of gardens as artistic expression.
When you enter an art-college you will not find any courses to become an artist in the media gardening, is that a reason to not see a garden as a way to express yourself artistically?

tuinkunstbloemetjesbehang

For 27 years now the Garden Festival at Chaumont-Sur-Loire shows, you sure can create a garden as a piece of art.
24 small gardens from around 100 square metre are create according to a theme, last year theme was ‘Flower Power’
As in any other exhibition you see several artistic expressions of the exhibition title.
Last your i was there.

tuinkunstpaardenstaartenmeer

Perhaps it is the sheer 1000 ways of gardening that scares people of, maybe.
One garden that has been excepted by the art community, including art colleges, is the garden by filmmaker Derek Jarman.
He created against all odds an amazing garden, he was no gardener had little knowledge. He went along in the locale landscape and collected rocks, wood, old iron and created. A poem appeared on the site of the cottage as a part of the garden.

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There are so many, many and even more ways to use natural material to create a piece of art in the frame of a garden.
An other famous piece of work at the other site of the spectrum of scale is the garden from Charles Jencks with the title Garden of Cosmic Speculation.
He went ahead with the bigger machines to create a new concept for landscaping and created art. You can see it like a sculpture where you can walk inside and what you never can see at once.

tuinpoem

 

 

We are not talking here of a sculpture in the garden but the garden as a sculpture, a garden is 3 dimensional.
The art can be minimum using just 6 trees to express more than just an image. Artist Jaume Plensa used poetry, trees and brons to create a small minimum garden which will grow steady on, The Heart of Trees.

 

 

tuinkunstflowerpowerreflection

The new trend, in gardening is vertical gardens, using space optimal.
Italian artists used vertical gardening to express Flower Power in a colourful way.
Entering the garden you see white flowering plants in white cubes in walls and at the back a reflection of colours in metal.

tuinkunstflowerpower

Walk and turn and you see the other site of the walls planted in colours. The title was “Monochrome Blanc” and my favourite of the 24.

Number two was the Hot planet garden from Alexis Tricoire, who explored the power of plants to survive the heating up from our planet.

tuinkunsthotplanet

A garden as art will always change and grow. When you let it go and grow it will fall apart to create natures own expression of emotions. Perhaps therefor people don’t want it as art, you can’t hang it in a museum for generations to come to admire the same picture year after year, century after century.
When you leave the garden it will appear again like a lost message in time, revealing what once was lost.

When you have a garden create a space no matter how small to do something artistic, forget all the norms and regulations.
No garden, no problem use any bowl to create the same.

fishbowl

Not a sculpture in the garden but the garden being the sculpture.

Like any other art it will take time to learn, to get to know the material you want to work with.

 

 

 

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SLIDE 5 AND 6

What to prove
by
planting a tree
How to perceive beyond
the green

sixty centimetres
noting more
skinny being in cracked soil

 slight different angle
aspects turned around
to breath
more than sound
when growth outmined viewpoint
against the wind
inside that intersection of no belief

 

slide5Trees

Slide 5 PLANTING TREES

 

Its all done before
and
it will be done again
to form a pattern
close a circle

tree will outgrow you and me
to leave something, we can’t reach
telling stories nobody reads

time will tell
how we feel
interactive transgression
meaning of nature to clean
that what we leave in a leaf
the counter weight of transactions
showing an image  not made by hand

 

slide6otherartists

slide 6 other artists

 

to shake it all again
not so sure about the name
as what is in the name of ART
more than poverty over brain
what is it worth
for YOU?

DaBeArt

EMPTY

EMPTY SPACE

space

While reading the new ‘LandArt book’ Expeditie Land Art it occurred to me that magical word empty, in Land Art.
On page 89 you find the start of a description of the writers visit to Lightning Field from Walter de Maria.
What Walter achieved with this piece of Land Art is to create the experience of an empty field, a field which will stay empty for many generations to come.
Most fields will not achieve that, that immense feeling of emptiness.

alone

alone

A filed is never truly empty, bare, blank, deserted there is something always something. YET, it can give you that feeling of being purposeless, meaningless never unfinished.
Walter de Maria made sure to preserve that feeling in the whole of the creation and preservation of his work The Lighting Field.

People will say and did say this is no art but than was it his purpose to create art or was it to preserve a landscape on the brink of disappearing of this planet.
Due to his planting of metal rods you now can visit this place with just 5 others alone without; phone, tv, radio, books, magazines, internet for at least 24 hours to experience empty, silence, idle, clear vision.

Everything in our lives has some kind of monetary value yet the most important aspects of life appears to us free of any charge. It will not be for long and than when it is gone perhaps than we realise what we have sold.

i can see you

can you see

 

Forest Museum

At times people see gardens as museums for special plants, perhaps we can see the forest as a place for special trees.
While we wander around the forest remembering fairytales, wondering gnomes under our feet, a distant call of the fluttering bird, do we see what it could be.

Alan Songfist did.
Making art by planting trees in the shape of that or perhaps that other fluttering bird.
An amazing piece of art hidden for the human eye yet clearly seen by bird-eyes.

Land Art Forest hidden beauty

hidden forest

An other fantastic piece of work from Alan Songfist is “Time LandScape” again made with trees, situated in New York City.

Agnes Denes is an other land artist who created forest art, with a more hidden message of ‘this will never be sold’.

How about a cathedral made with living trees, well more than one person had that idea but like paintings no Land Art is the same.
Whipsnade Tree Cathedral is a 9.5 acres cathedral created and planted by Mr Edmond K. Blyth, starting in 1932 long before the land art movement came along.

The Tree Cathedral by Giuliano Mauri is made with hidden trees as in each column a young Beech tree is growing. The columns are made with branches and sticks woven into a structure which is more than just a tree protector.

The Green Cathedral “De Groene Kathedraal” made with Birch trees not to last forever but leaving a lasting memory of trees on the new created land in the Netherlands.
Marines Boezem was born just 2 years after Mr. Blyth started to plant his green cathedral.

Land Art Forest hidden drop

livil

From the ‘Green Cathedral’ it is a short drive to go to “Het MuseumBos” where you can find several pieces of land art created with trees.

Land Art Forest will not be a new idea but than who made the first painting? How many paintings did follow?
Lets wish we create just as many Land Art Forests as we created paintings.

 

 

nEw ways to sEE nature

seeing drops

new discoveries while on your knees

 

Many people say to me; my photos made them look differently to nature, they now see things closer. When you take your time and sit down, you will see something different no matter where you are.
Our eyes have their limitation and our brains fill in the rest, but who tells our brain what to see. The manipulated photo of what we want to see, according to who ……?
Is it the artist, fashion, media or our surroundings?

novel ecosystem

down the beaten track

 

As a land artist you need to know your material just like any other artist does. A painter knows her paint, the brushes, the underground, the sculptor knows their wood, stone, iron. A land artist find their art-material in the landscape,  where ever that landscape is you will find nature there.
It is often said that land artists have a dialoge with nature, using no words or signs. They alter the landscape with material found in the landscape. At times these alteration last just minutes at other times they last years.

planted landscape

created landscape

 

In a way they create a connection between culture and nature, which is not always appreciated.
Some artists travel large distance to find them special ‘wild’ places to create their art, to spread their wings in unknown territories. Sometimes their inspiration comes from nature herself, many times it comes from who pay their travel expenses.
All of them make us look at nature in a different way.

Pink Rocks

natural sculpture

 

We always intervene in nature, humans have been changing their environment since they walk on 2 legs. Out of them interventions come new ecological systems, creative driven ecosystems. (Novel Ecosystems)
How do we divine nature? Them landscape which has not been touched by humans? We have changed the chemistry of the air, the chemistry of water all over this planet.

human made wilderness

wild or tame?

 

One destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things (Henry Miller).
In Europe we altered the landscape for many many years and them altered landscapes are now natural wonders in their own rights.

grandPA

planted giant

 

We actually can give something back to nature, we can create with nature new ecosystems with a new way of looking at nature. Areas which were once planted by humans and than neglected become very unusual but beautiful places to reconnect with that nature.
Nature doesn’t care about nationalities, the wind seeds them plants no matter where and no matter where the mother plants come from.

water buffalo

an allien

 

Perhaps this WaterBuffalo in Pembrokeshire should not be or perhaps it always has been but just went for a long holiday.
The non natives often help to create that environment the natives need to survive, lets call it natural balance.

Snowdon

created landscape

 

The above photo shows a landscape made by mining and sheep farming, is it therefor no good? Is what we see here no nature?
It is now a national park where they try to keep it in the way it is. Perhaps the national park should let nature decide what it wants to do with this new landscape.

Land art can certainly create new landscapes by working together with nature.

Novel land art

how old farmland became new

In the next blog i will show you more about this piece of land in Pembrokeshire.

It stands model for the new to create Forest Vision

 

 

 

 

land art forest

 

a drop in the ocean

The photos will always be related to LandArt, documenting that vanishing moment in LandArt. It comes as no surprise to go from a photo back into LandArt.

The organisers of the exhibition ask me to give a talk about my work at Clegyr Boia in Wales. How can a drop relate to 6 hectare of land, perhaps the feeling of really being just a drop in the oceaan while you know you should be so much more than a drop.
The little feed the big and the big feed the little, we forget, we give up before we start, feeling so little among the so big.
All them little drops form an oceaan, without a drop no oceaan. Remember, many little create a big.

mushroom power

LandArt alters the landscape, sometimes just a moment, sometimes forever. The artists have a dialoog with nature in a landscape and from that dialoog flows a sculpture which alters that landscape.
They add something to the landscape or they intervene in the landscape or they act in the landscape.

a shape at the edge

The LandArt at Clegyr Boia became a landscape. The lessons learned there on that plot of land act as a basis for the next piece of LandArt. A concept that will be used for several pieces of LandArt, all around the world.
So the photo exhibition will be the onset for something much bigger than a drop in the oceaan.
Trees will play a major role as they always play a major role in so many different landscapes. Trees are the backbone of a landscape.

Tree Flag

Learning from past mistakes, learning from past failures, moving into achievement.
A book will be written about the experience at Clegyr Boia with at the end how to move them experiences into an achievable LandArt Forest.
The notebooks came out of the cupboard, photos are searched and gathered an idea takes shape.
Research starts, into books, newspapers and internet to make the idea grow.
While writing about the past contacts are made for a network of people and organisations to add onto that base of a forest.
New notebooks come into action and in November there will be more than just a drop in the oceaan.
The exhibition has been moved to November 2018 at Alcoutim in Portugal.
To create time.

distance looking

 

STORY WHEEL

STORY WHEEL

The concept of a garden as a piece of art will be discussed for many years to come. The Japanese see gardens as art, no discussions there any more.

zen-scapeair1

Zen-Scape inspired by Japanese gravel gardens

We from Dabe-Art were talking about it; you can’t answer this question without talking about the criteria for art. Creativity would be a number one, unusual would be an other, using material in a different way and last but not least a thinking behind it (intellectual). For many people art ends by making something beautiful (aesthetic) for us at Dabe-Art it is more than creating something pretty.
When Derek Jarman made his garden in the last years of his life his aim was not beauty, he used different materials, not just plants, he had an idea  which developed while making the garden. The garden he created became art and people use it as an example for a garden as art.

visioncol

Vision 2004

Like any art a garden start with a base, the soil is for the gardener what an empty canvas is for a painter, or a block of clay for a sculptor. Before we create our art we work on the base,  the empty area. On the moment i work on the soil and like other artists while working on the empty the filling happens in the head.
A criteria for art we forgot is passion, if you don’t have the passion you will loose it already while making the empty base. The passion will filter through and makes it all worth doing.
You can understand why the Japanese gardeners made the weeding into something special, something creative, while weeding they create certain patterns otherwise their gravel would be hidden under a shower of greenery. The gravel gardens they made have inspired many gardeners for centuries, including myself.

wheel-walledgarden

wheel at the walled garden 1997

While reading Earthly Joy written by Philippa Gregory, about a famous English gardener and wanderer John Tradescant, it came to my mind to write a life story as a garden.
An autobiography written through landscapes into a garden landscape.
The soil from the garden gets shaped in an old design “The Wheel” a large circle divided in 8 triangels leading to an inner circle, like a wagon wheel. You will find the design in many old cultures around the globe. Each triangel of the Story Wheel will tell a story of a place where i lived during my life, reflecting how that place shaped experiences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the Story Wheel where old and new will meet

The stories start at, yep the East, as there the day start as well as the night, sunrise, moonrise. Each triangle will hold a tree connecting the triangle to the place it describes. When all the flesh melts from the bones them trees will grow on and on changing the face of the land, hiding the written stories.

While weeding away, to have my blank canvas, my mind wanders to all them places and the piece, triangle by triangle starts to live and get filled.

So a new piece of Land Art began, which will grow on for many years to come just like many of my other Land Art.

You can follow here how it slowly but certainly take shape and how the creative story evolves.