Alan Sonfist, 1974, 17'21''

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A man stands in an area of parkland. He lays out a light, rolled-up canvas on the ground. Then he slowly unrolls it. He meticulously places some branches and twigs on the canvas, precisely where they were before he unrolled it.
'As the canvas is unrolled, twigs, some with leaves attached, are placed on the surface in positions corresponding to their original positions on the ground. The isolated elements gradually rejoin the landscape as the canvas decomposes.'
By isolating the branches and twigs on a white canvas, the artist also isolates the form, the infrastructure. He allows the material forms to speak for themselves. The edges of the canvas turn into the frame of the work, they delimit the scale of the work, namely, the number of twigs that the artis
can place on the canvas. The location is brought into cultivation. Nature becomes cultivation.
The position of the twigs on the woodland floor determines its appearance. Sonfist wants to unearth this structure, make it more visible to man. However, as it turns out, structure is not the most important aspect here, but rather, the way in which it behaves on the canvas. As soon as the canvas decomposes, the twigs will once again come into contact with the place where they originally came from. The separation created by the artist has vanished. Cultivation is defeated by nature.

  • Date: 1974
  • Length: 17'21''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: environment/ecology, urban life