Agnes Denes

Tree Mountain
A Living Time Capsule

Agnes Denes  Tree Mountain — A Living Time Capsule

source: scienceblogscombr

Há uma montanha de árvores coníferas plantadas de maneira padronizada numa montanha artificial cônica perto de Ylöjärvi, na Finlândia. Seriam aliens? Claro que não, são finlandeses. Foram 11 mil pessoas de diversos países que plantaram 11 mil árvores dispostas num padrão matemático baseado na proporção áurea.

Mas o que levaria esses milhares de seres humanos a erigir uma montanha cônica e plantar geometricamente em suas encostas? Aliens? Já disse que não. Há uma inteligência por trás disso, é claro, mas ela é bem humana e bem finlandesa húngaro-americana. Seu nome é Agnes Denes e ela concebeu essa floresta artificial em 1982. Mas então era apenas uma ideia. Ela precisaria de uma ajuda superior para executar o projeto.

Não, não foi aí que entraram os aliens. A não ser que o governo finlandês seja considerado alienígena. Em 1992, o governo da Finlândia abraçou a ideia e as 11 mil pessoas puderam finalmente plantar suas 11 mil árvores. As obras da montanha e a plantação só terminaram em 1996, quando a floresta foi inaugurada.

Mas isso não é só um experimento botânico-geométrico. É também uma experiência sócio-econômica. Ou, se preferir, uma cápsula do tempo viva. As árvores têm seus proprietários, ou melhor, guardiões. Um guardião pode trocar de árvore com outro mas nenhuma árvore pode ser derrubada ou vendida. E a montanha não pertence a ninguém, nem ao governo finlandês. Embora seja artificial, a Tree Mountain é pública no sentido mais puro do termo.

Tudo isso está legalmente protegido pelos próximos 400 anos. Só quando a floresta estiver pronta, daqui a quatro séculos, poderá ser explorada. Espera-se que seja, então, substituída por outra floresta artificial devidamente protegida.
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source: agnesdenesstudio

Artist presentation:
Agnes Denes (b.1931 in Budapest, Hungary) was raised in Sweden, and educated in the United State. She is one of the early pioneers of the Environmental and Conceptual Art movements. Denes’ monumental works speak to the challenges of global survival in the context of ecological, cultural, and social issues.

Denes has exhibited extensively at fairs and institutions across the globe, including Documenta VI, three Venice Biennials, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She participates in global conferences, has written five books, and holds two honorary doctorates.

Other works: Wheatfield – A Confrontation was created during a six-month period in the spring, summer, and fall of 1982 when Denes, with the support of the Public Art Fund, planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of rubble-strewn landfill near Wall Street and the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (now the site of Battery Park City and the World Financial Center).

Work Presentation:
Tree Mountain, conceived in 1982, is a collaborative, environmental artwork that touches on global, ecological, social, and cultural issues. It is a massive earthwork and land reclamation project that tests our finitude and transcendence, individuality versus teamwork, and measures the value and evolution of a work of art after it has entered the environment. Tree Mountain is designed to unite the human intellect with the majesty of nature.

10 600+ pine trees are planted by different individuals according to an intricate mathematical formula, a combination of the golden section and sunflower/pineapple patterns that meet not only aesthetic criteria, but remain intact after the forest is thinned a few decades from now. The mathematical expansion changes with one’s view and movement around and above the mountain, revealing hidden curves and spirals in its symmetrical design. If Tree Mountain is seen from space, the human intellect at work over natural formation becomes evident, yet they blend harmoniously.

Tree Mountain is site-specific. Both shape and size can be adapted to areas of land reclamation and the preservation of forests. Tree Mountain is 420 meters long, 270 meters wide, 28 meters high and elliptical in shape. Height depends on the restrictions of the site and the availability of materials. The site is a gravel pit being reclaimed. The process of bioremediation restores the land from resource extraction use to one in harmony with nature, in this case, the re-creation of a virgin forest. The planting of trees holds the land from erosion, enhances oxygen production and provides home for wildlife. This takes time and it is one of the reasons why Tree Mountain will remain undisturbed for centuries.

Tree Mountain pine trees were chosen because they are typical for this environment. The trees must outlive the present era and, by surviving, carry our concepts into an unknown time in the future. If our civilization as we know it, ends, or as changes occur, there will be a reminder in the form of a unique and majestic forest for our descendants to ponder. They may reflect on an undertaking that did not serve personal needs but the common good, and the highest ideals of humanity and its environment, while benefiting future generations.
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Tree Mountain is a collaborative work, from its intricate landscaping and forestry to the funding and contractual agreements for its strange, unheard-of land-use of four centuries. The collaboration expands as eleven thousand people come together to plant the trees that will bear their names and remain their property through succeeding generations. The trees can change ownership—people can leave their tree to their heirs, or transfer it by other means, even be buried under it—but Tree Mountain itself can never be owned or sold, nor can the trees be moved from the forest.

Ownership signifies custodianship. Tree Mountain represents the concept, the soul of the art, while the trees are a manifestation of it. Though they may be collectible works of art, inheritable commodities—gaining stature, fame and value as they grow and age as trees—ultimately neither can be truly owned. One can only become a custodian and assume the moral obligations it implies. But meanwhile they remain part of a larger whole, the forest. The trees are individual segments of a single, limited edition—unique patterns in the design of their universe.

And the trees live on through the centuries – stable and majestic, outliving their owners or custodians who created the patterns and the philosophy, but not the tree. There is a strange paradox in this.

Tree Mountain begins its existence when it is completed as a work of art. As the trees grow and wildlife takes over, as decades and centuries pass, Tree Mountain becomes a most interesting example of how the passing of time affects a work of art. It can become the instrument that measures the evolution of art. Through changing fashions and beliefs, Tree Mountain can pass from being a curiosity to being a shrine, from being the possible remnants of a decadent era to being one of the monuments of a great civilization—a monument not built to the human ego but to benefit future generations with a meaningful legacy.

Tree Mountain is a living time capsule.
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source: ceslava

11.000 personas. 11.000 árboles. 400 años.

Una obra conceptual donde arte y ciencia van de la mano.

La húngara Agnes Denes creó un proyecto ecológico para la recuperación de terrenos naturales. Entre septiembre y octubre de 1995 11.000 personas plantaron 11.000 árboles en una gran montaña artificial en Finlandia. De ahí­ surgió la impresionante “Tree Mountain” o “Montaña de los árboles”.

Esta artista concibió el patrón matemático donde se situarí­an dichos árboles.
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source: agnesdenesstudio

A primary figure among the concept-based artists who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, Agnes Denes is internationally known for works created in a wide range of mediums. A pioneer of several art movements, she is difficult to categorize. Investigating science, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, poetry, history, and music, Denes’s artistic practice is distinctive in terms of its aesthetics and engagement with socio-political ideas. As a pioneer of environmental art, she created Rice/Tree/Burial in 1968 in Sullivan County, New York which, according to the renowned art historian and curator Peter Selz, was “probably the first large scale site-specific piece anywhere with ecological concerns.”

Wheatfield – A Confrontation, which the scholar and curator Jeffrey Weiss, has called “perpetually astonishing . . . one of Land Art’s great transgressive masterpieces” (Artforum, September 2008) is perhaps Agnes Denes’s best-known work. It was created during a four-month period in the spring and summer of 1982 when Denes, with the support of the Public Art Fund, planted a field of golden wheat on two acres of rubble-strewn landfill near Wall Street and the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan (now the site of Battery Park City and the World Financial Center). Among her many other artistic achievements is Tree Mountain–A Living Time Capsule, a monumental earthwork, reclamation project and the first man-made virgin forest, situated in Ylöjärvi, in Western Finland. The site was dedicated by the President of Finland upon its completion in 1996 and is legally protected for the next four hundred years.

Agnes Denes is also known for her innovative use of metallic inks and other non- traditional materials in creating a prodigious body of exquisitely rendered drawings and prints that delineate her explorations in mathematics, philosophy, geography, science and other disciplines. Works by Agnes Denes are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Kunsthalle Nürnberg and many other major institutions worldwide.

She has completed public and private commissions in North and South America, Europe, Australia and the Middle East, and has received numerous honors and awards including four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and four grants from the New York State Council on the Arts; the DAAD Fellowship, Berlin, Germany (1978); the American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award (1985); M.I.T’s highly prestigious Eugene McDermott Achievement Award “In Recognition of Major Contribution to the Arts” (1990); the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (1998); the Watson Trans-disciplinary Art Award from Carnegie Mellon University (1999); the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2007); and the Ambassador’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy for Strengthening the Friendship between the US and the Republic of Hungary through Excellence in Contemporary Art (2008).

Denes holds honorary doctorates from Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin and Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and has had fellowships at the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at M.I.T. She lectures extensively at colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad and participates in global conferences. She is the author of six books and is featured in numerous other publications on a wide range of subjects in art and the environment.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1931, Agnes Denes was raised in Sweden and educated in the United States. Since her exhibition career began in the 1960s, she has participated in more than 450 exhibitions at galleries and museums throughout the world including, among others, solo shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (1974); the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1979) and retrospective surveys at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. (1992); the Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa. (2003); and the Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2008). Her work has also been featured in such international surveys as the Biennale of Sydney (1976); Documenta 6, Kassel, Germany (1977); the Venice Biennale (1978, 1980, 2001), and more recently The Last Freedom: From the Pioneers of Land Art of the 1960s to Nature in Cyberspace, Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany (October 16, 2011); Systems, Actions & Processes: 1965 – 1975, PROA Foundation, Buenos Aires (through September, 2011); Erre: Variations Labyrinthiques, Centre Pompidou, Metz (September 12, 2011 – March 5, 2012); and Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph: 1964 – 1977, Art Institute of Chicago (December 11, 2011 – March 11, 2012).

Agnes Denes is currently represented by Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York.