Thursday, 29 November 2012

A huge Willow Nest in Melbourne with Tall Ceilings and Celestial Windows

Everyone is well-known with Patrick Dougherty's enormous nests made of willow saplings; however his latest "Ballroom" installation at Federation Square in Melbourne might well be his most determined yet. Willows saplings are considered weeds in Australia, where their thick canopy, invasive root system and extreme leaf fall is disparaging to local water systems but the plants offer a great medium for the American artist's larger-than-life public art installations. For the Ballroom installation commissioned by the Federation Square Creative Program to encourage public art at the 3.2 hectare mixed-use space near Melbourne’s busiest railway station, Dougherty turned to the nearby St. Paul’s Cathedral for inspiration. Apart from metal scaffolding that keeps the willow structure erect, the artist uses few tools to prunes and bends the malleable branches to his visionary will. It took almost three weeks and 10 tons of willows to realize Ballroom, which features magical arched ceilings and celestial windows that permit just a smidgen of daylight to penetrate the interior. This distinct piece on show until early 2013 assists the Australian government manages the arboreal pest in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and awe-inspiring.

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