Ever wondered what it would be like to see a 30-metre-high tree inside Hayward Gallery? Our new exhibition Among the Trees brings together artworks by 38 artists who explore our relationship with trees and forests. Here are five things to know about it.
...including a cast of a 2,000-year-old olive tree from southern Italy, and an ancient underground forest in South Africa photographed by Rachel Sussman as part of her decade-long project to document the world’s oldest living things.
Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s huge, cinematic portrait of a 30-metre spruce, for example, takes over almost the entirety of one of the lower galleries, while Guiseppe Penone’s Tree of 12 Metres (1980–82), a sapling painstakingly excavated from an industrially planed piece of timber, stops just short of the ceiling. Upstairs, Viriginia Overton has covered one of the gallery walls in vibrantly coloured planks of Eastern red cedar taken from trees that surround her family farm in rural Tennessee.
Eva Jospin transforms the gallery into an enchanted wood with her towering forest made entirely from cardboard; Anya Gallaccio presents us with a tree laden with fairy-tale fruit; while artists including Sally Mann, Steve McQueen and Jimmie Durham address how entwined trees are with our history, politics and everyday lives.
It’s also timed to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, which takes place on 22 April. At Hayward, we’ll be celebrating with an evening of poems written in response to artworks in Among the Trees by ten contemporary poets, including Anna Selby, L. Kiew, Mona Arshi and Seán Hewitt.
And to lose ourselves – momentarily – in artworks that range from Jennifer Steinkamp’s hypnotic video-installation of a birch grove cycling through the seasons, to Toba Khedoori’s intricate, almost hallucinogenic, drawings and paintings of dense networks of branches, roots, and leaves.
Header image: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Horizontal – Vaakasuora, 2011, at Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery, 2020 © Crystal Eye, Helsinki, 2020. Courtesy of Hayward Gallery. Photo: Linda Nylind
Hayward Gallery is currently closed, but you can purchase the catalogue for Among the Trees to be delivered.
The show must go on(line)
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