Exploring Wood


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Exploring Wood
2016
Cherry tree with 908 nails
1.30 m
Following the visit to the Kröller-Müller museum in Otterlo. It is relatively warm and lots of leaves are still on the trees, it is mid-December. The Kröller-Müller Museum is in the middle of the richly wooded Veluwe between Hoenderloo and Otterloo. The temporary exhibition about Barbara Hepworth looks familiar. The exhibition was previously at the Tate Britain in London and in 2016 will be moving to the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck in Germany.
The work of the English artist Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) is clearly recognisable. I am going to make a comparison with the work of her classmate Henry Moore, with whom she was also friends. The work consists mainly of abstracts, organic forms. It reminds me of a first-year assignment at the art academy, which was to create a prototype. Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures are powerful, aesthetic and, like the images by Henry Moore, rounded shapes with cavities. I see female figures and animals and a lot of non-figurative work. Barbara said according to a text of the wall that she preferred cutting directly into stone or wood to clay-moulding. This was working with the material itself, the hard way. A number of large, dark pictures are very beautiful, they command respect. They are made of African hardwood.
I walk among the high school students outside. The Barbara Hepworth exhibition continues in the garden. Suddenly there is an old piece of tree trunk about one metre long. The decaying parts have been removed, so it is a whimsical piece of wood. It is not a work by Barbara Hepworth, but by herman de vries, written without capitals, just as he wants. If it were not on a pedestal with a sign titled ‘Le témoin’, and 'acquired with support from the Mondriaan Foundation’, you would think that the gardener was playing a joke.
In Heerewaarden a week later, I was allowed get a thick dead cherry tree trunk from a garden.
photo2:herman de vries; Le témoin 1991
photo3:Dusan Dzamonja sculpture with nails 1977