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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.