AN ESCAPIST STORY (FOREST SCHOOL), 2016-2018
digital videoscreening with sound, 12’54”
Courtesy of the Artist and Kisterem Gallery.
VANDALIZED ALDO LEOPOLD-BENCH III., 2020
wood, 70x50x60 cm
Courtesy of the Artist and Kisterem Gallery
My artwork is a so-called Aldo Leopold bench made of a piece of wooden plank.
Aldo Leopold was a busy American forester, ecologist and thinker in the first half of the twentieth century. He was a pioneer in his work on natural wildlife conservation, as well as in developing an early form of environmental and land ethic. He is best known for his A Sand County Almanac, one of the most popular nature books in the United States. He is often mentioned together with David Thoreau, who lived a century earlier.
Aldo Leopold also emphasized the importance of recreational time in the natural environment, especially its role in raising children. The design of the bench attributed to him, or more precisely, the home-made object itself that is built on the basis of it to be set up in the garden, has become one of the symbols of environmentally friendly Americans. Although the original benches had rotted away for a long time, plans and preparation guides were made using the photos of the bench standing in front of Aldo Leopold’s country house, which are available on the Internet in countless variations as documents of a folk tradition. Due to its form and history, this bench may be a perfect instrument for contemplation for Western people.
The artwork itself is a homemade Aldo Leopold bench made from a piece of untreated pine following the instructions of preparation guides, with inscriptions burnt on its surface by concentrating sunlight with a magnifying glass, that is, by the “vandalism” typical of children.
The inscriptions are lines appropriated and freely quoted from Aldo Leopold, David Thoreau and other thinkers, related to the philosophy of non-doing, contemplation and the topic of nature vs. man.