Rising The Park

Hauster Park, located in the little city of Chaudfontaine, Belgium, hosts the yearly Cinq Saisons Festival, which gives many artists the possibility to create a work in situ. Every year, the participants are invited to take residence in town during the realization of their work, looking forward to create a new season of intense dialogue between the artist and the environment where his or her work will be settled. The 2010 edition has been curated by eight different artists and I would like to focus on some of their projects.

‘Skin2’, by Uysal Mehmet Ali, looks for a playful interaction with the green coat of the park itself, making a six meters high peg lift up the grass as it was real skin. With this easiness and elasticity, the artist turns the grass into a piece of his installation. The other work I would like to mention is a creation by Christine Mawet entitled ‘Les Vanités du Gingko’, where she repairs some leaves with colored thread, ideally trying to slow down the biological process of deterioration. The repaired leaves were then exposed into little transparent boxes under a gingko tree. This particular project reminds me of other works with a similar approach, which I appreciate very much for their delicate interaction with natural elements, like works of Julie Houle, or Nina Katchadourian.

Looking at Cinq Saisons, it is legitimate to ask if land art is still alive and if it is changing its shape. Can we still recognize it with no more Spiral Jettys or wrapped islands? Personally, I believe that evolution is good if it changes art into something more playful and closer to ourselves.