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
Hundreds + Thousands was a year-long project, starting in February 2000 and ending in February 2001. I spent the first eight months outdoors, all over Bear Creek Park, up a ladder, numbering every leaf on five trees, and talking with curious onlookers. I also wrote poetic quotes on leaves throughout the park for people to discover by accident. I was able to number over 38,000 leaves, and kept a journal as part of the project.
In October I gathered all the written-on and numbered leaves as they fell, then washed, dried, froze,and pressed them. Each leaf was then pinned to the walls of the gallery. The walls were twelve to fourteen feet high, and the effect
of the leaves hanging at the ends of long pins, floating on the movement of air, was remarkable. And the gallery exhibit was not just my doing: it was interactive.
Gallery attenders were presented with two work-tables. One table held eight large white bowls, containing leaves, objects I had found in the park, pins, and small pieces of paper bearing quotes or drawings. 600 small white porcelain bowls were also offered. Visitors to the gallery were invited (through signage, by gallery volunteers, or by myself) to pin leaves to the wall or to fill a small bowl and place it on the plinths, tables and shelves in the gallery. The other worktable offered pens and small (5cm by 5cm) pieces of paper for people to write and draw on, plus my open journal, a selection of books to read, and an interactive guestbook in which Diana replied to visitor's comments.
People responded to the invitation with enthusiasm. The walls became filled with leaves and quotes and tiny little drawings. The plinths and tables were filled to overflowing. People made individual creations in their bowls, made small worlds of poetry and seeds and leaves. My job became that of caretaker, making certain the large bowls were always full, opening up areas that were too dense on the walls, (not by removing, just by spacing) and making certain there were always bowls empty and ready for gallery visitors.
At the end of the project, all the leaves and found objects were returned to the forest,
leaving only a memory of the exhibit.
|photo courtesy Surrey Art Gallery|
|west gallery with vine maple leaves|