The artist’s proposition concerned a stand of a dozen or so trees on the old hospital grounds at risk of being removed by the development. To avoid felling these trees, the artist proposed having them treated and replanted in large pots. As part of their care, the trees will be trimmed to lighten their load. Once replanted, the trunks will be gilded and each year’s new leaves painted gold.
The gilding given to the trees inverts the way we normally look at, or through, these plants by sacralising them anew in symbolic terms through our normal codes of luxury.
Associating the tree with gold recalls the tree of light or inverted tree symbolism found in various traditions, particularly in India, where the tree of light is an element of transition between death and life (the inverted and the just). Mediating between these two domains, the tree is a path and a key, the passage from cosmic darkness into light.
Michel Blazy is a pioneer in the use of living materials in art. One of the inventors of what he calls “organic” art, he has spent the last 20 years drawing inspiration from biotypes and ecosystems. One of his challenges is to re-polarise artistic creativity in living things, corrupting dead works and reconnecting art with the cycle of life.