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Trees of Life. Art - Culture - Nature

This summer's international, thematic exhibition

For the third time, the Art Centre Silkeborg Bad opens its doors for an international, thematic exhibition. The firts exhibition was 'Free as a Bird' in 1998, the second was 'Watershed' in 2002. The theme of this third exhibition is wood and trees.

Today, wood and trees are used for all things imaginable and point to the future. At the same time, wood and trees are a source of history. A tree can out-live a human being. As a material, it is both living and organic. Artists, designers, and architects alike have always used wood as a material or subject. Forest trees have an interesting biology and are a prerequisite for life on Earth. It is quite fascinating to explore the number of places in life where trees continue to play various roles. Cultural history in a broader sense is full of "tree stories". Mythology, for example, has ample subject matter that revolves around wood and trees. Even in languages and idioms, we find it – specifically or symbolically. One only has to think about the idiom of not seeing the forest through the trees. Place names in geography are full of references to trees, and all over the world, the countless words used for wood and related things demonstrate its importance.

The exhibition consists of a series of thematic strings that combine to form an interwoven field of artistic experiences and knowledge. It will be possible to experience how different areas of knowledge enrich each other, when sections on architecture, design, innovation, cultural history, and communication of nature are viewed in the context of pictorial art. The different knowledge areas draw upon each other, pictorial artists find inspiration in natural science or cultural history, architecture plays together with research, etc. The exhibition guest will, however, according to his or her own interests, also be able to follow a more narrowly defined topic through the exhibition.

Trees of Life: Art

Art, Architecture and Furniture Design
More specifically, 28 Danish and foreign pictorial artists will be represented at the exhibition. Most of them have created new works for the exhibition, whereas some are represented with pre-existing works that have been loaned to the exhibition. The nature of the works span from woodcarvings and paintings over sculpture to various installations that are on display indoors or in the art centre park area.

The contemporary pictorial artists participating are: Lars Abrahamsen, Thomas Andersson, Karen Birch Bunten, Jens Bohr, Alfio Bonnano, Karina Chechik, Povl Christensen, Stuart Frost, Walther Green, Ida Guldhammer, Mikael Hansen, Ole Hertz, Søren Koefoed, Antanas Moncys, N. Mølgaard Andersen, John Olsen, Outsize Gruppen (Kristian Vodder Svensson, Andreas Stoubye Johansen, Yngve Riber og Dan Jensen), Niels Rahbæk, Jørn Rønnau, Naomi Siegmann, Frede Troelsen, Lars Vilks, Bror Westman, Inge Lise Westman and Gitte Winther.

Frede Troelsen: relief

Photo: Mogens Winther


In Denmark, architects and designers are quite adept at creating unique works, in which nature's shapes and the material of trees are essential to the form, and in which contemporary lifestyles are taken into consideration at the same time. In the architectural section, Danish architects schmidt hammer lassen will among other things build a sensory room, a so-called 'transformation by ...' space. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is represented with five unique models and a tea-house in paper.

schmidt hammer lassen: House of Culture in Nuuk, Greenland (1994-1997). Copyright photo: Peter Barfod

Furniture Design

The design section focuses on select examples of new generation works at interpreting a wooden chair. From the younger generation, the following are among the participants: Hans Sandgren Jakobsen, Strand & Hvass, KOMPLOT, Per Borre, Kasper Salto, Lise and Hans Isbrand, Carlo Volf, Zaha Hadid and Ray & Charles Eames. The works of these designers are displayed as oppositions to a series of classics.

Carlo Volf: Stick (2000). Chair contructed of 12 sticks.

Foto: Carlo Volf.

Trees of Life: Culture

Cultural History

This section of the exhibition introduces the public to a series of themes. Various types of wooden games are displayed, also wooden boats, all in small as well as in large scale.

The public is invited to interact with some of the exhibited elements of this section.

Anders Gammelgaard: Eksperiment II (2001)

Photo: Anders Gammelgaard

Trees of Life: The Book

A book is published for the occasion as an independent contribution - albeit with the same title. The book is an anthology, for which thirty writers, each from their own professional standpoint, have contributed with short texts. The Rhodos publishing house has created a beautiful layout. The book can be purchased for DKK 150.-.