Forest Geometries (Koningsbos), 2019
A site-specific performance project from a residency at the Frans Masereel Centrum, an international printmaking centre in the Belgian countryside. Using forest floor materials - varied fungi and pine needles - from the lush Koningsbos forest nearby, I made a series of sculptural paperworks. Some of the pulp was formed into geometric shapes which distorted and tore themselves into unique forms as they dried. The rest was formed into sheets and cut into squares when dry.
The paper pieces were shown on the Frans Masereel Centrum gallery floor in sunlight, separated from their environment by the glass. After the show they were returned to the forest in a ceremony of reflection. The paper, highly toxic to humans, was restored to a complex and ancient ecological system, against which modern human interventions are exposed as overwhelmingly short-sighted and destructive. Forest Geometries was an act of meditation on how far we have come from being able to emulate the cycle of complete disintegration and regeneration of every other species, and a challenge to art-making culture which is often complicit in thoughtless consumption and pollution.
It began to rain, and the paper started its process of decomposition back into the ground. The pieces resembled fallen leaves in jarringly geometric shapes. New leaves and pine needles fell on top of them, and tiny fungi sprouted up in the gaps. Several days later the pieces were still intact, but barely perceptible among the forest debris. Soon they had been completely reclaimed by a new generation of forest life.
Paper sculptures in Forest Geometries at the Frans Masereel Centrum gallery,
with the Koningsbos visible in the background
This unique piece remained in the Frans Masereel Centrum Collection as a record of the performance.
All remaining forest matter has biodegraded back into its habitat.
Thanks to my stellar foraging team and collaborators in group residency and show Environment/Process/Meditation at Frans Masereel Centrum:
Jamie Scherzer, Sariah Park, Xuewu Zheng and Malgorzata Oakes (behind the camera)