Sequoia Mirabilis

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    Forest of Niederbronn-les-Bains

    67110 – Bas-Rhin

    The installation “Sequoia Mirabilis” is based on an immense tree that is emblematic of Niederbronn forest and which the inhabitants and local authorities of the town hoped to preserve despite it being dead : Patrick Meyer therefore conceived a project which makes it ‘‘live’’ again, circulating water and light through the trunk, as if for a second vegetal life…

    ‘‘The inhabitants’ attachment to the presence – and the image in the landscape – of this giant sequoia, planted during the second half of the 19th century and recently deceased (probably following a modification in the course of subterranean streams) gave rise to a wish to keep it standing by giving it another life in the form of a work of art’’

    Robert Grossmann, Preface to Sequoia Mirabilis, published on the occasion of the installation

    The tree was kept upright, but pruned and shortened by 15 metres. A circular brass conduit was installed at the top : it collects rainwater, which then flows along a channel in the trunk and into a gutter. The water is thus transported to the base of the tree in a circular channel. On the other side of the trunk, it is no longer the ‘‘water’’ element which governs verticality, but light : another channel mounts the length of the tree, which is sectioned up above and a mirror is installed there, tilted at 45°. It is a periscope system through which the visitor can see the surrounding panorama from inside the trunk, almost as if he or she were on top of the emblematic sequoia.

    ‘‘The idea of this artwork is therefore to conserve all that is possible of this dead tree raised to the status of ‘‘natural sculpture’’, but giving it two functions oriented towards the human presence and gaze : through its hydraulic apparatus the tree becomes a sort of fountain with a basin in its base, while the optical system transforms it into a periscope, the darkness created by the sentry box increasing the visual quality and the poetic dimension of the image.’’

    Paul Guérin

     

    1999
    Sequoia, wood, brass, optical device conceived by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique de Strasbourg
    height : 15 m

     

     

    Cette installation fait partie d'un itinéraire

    Alsace

    These outdoor artworks are freely accessible throughout the year. The CEAAC’s cultural mediation service offers to accompany groups free of charge during visits to one or several sites