hundreds + thousands
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|poetry in the landscape / writing on leaves / numbered leaves / words on leaves / words and landscape/
numbering every leaf on a tree /
surrey art gallery bc canada
|The sublime meets the ridiculous.
August 22, 2000
These leaves. The idea of leaf.
Leaf as a verb: to leaf out, to leaf through.
I can leaf. I have leafed.
Writing on live leaves, twelve feet up, inside the living tree, is almost the antithesis of the second stage of this project, where the leaves will be methodically pinned to the wall, stilled, held down. But when individually pinned they’ll be seen. Thirty thousand - or even six hundred thousand - leaves on a tree are scarcely noticed. They just are. But spread out on the walls, covering hundreds of square feet, they’ll be something else. Hanging from long pins, moving with the air currents in the gallery, their volume and presence will not just be enumerated, it will be felt. They’ll twist as they dry, making vivid forms, shapes that spiral, umbrella, collapse. If this exhibit lasted more than a few months they’d begin to crumble, turn to dust. But this show is brief. It’s just a hiatus, a held breath, an extended pause before they’re placed back on the ground.
The brevity of this moment, and the leaves fragility (they cannot,
will not, last) adds to the idea of “beauty”, of why I see this as beautiful. The moment of the fall. Expansion’s apex, the instant before it contracts. The furthest reach of the pendulum, where the balloon pops, atoms shift, place becomes moment, the body swallows theory, and the sublime meets the ridiculous.
That place where opposites meet is essential to the comprehension of beauty, of the sublime. It’s where we
experience the world outside ourselves as completely internal to ourselves, the moment where body and mind meet.
By encountering the other in an (aesthetic) experience called beauty, a connection is made: we are not outside of, we are part of. The internal monologue is shut down, and experience takes over. It’s pure dialogue, attendance. It’s the acknowledgement of our senses, using our brains.