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Marco Miehling: A Tree is a Big Plant with a Stick Up in the Middle

In partnership with Selfridges, London

Until September 2019

Yorkshire Sculpture Park's partnership with Selfridges continues with a new Art Block commission by Marco Miehling.

Miehling, the Art Block’s third resident artist, explores the merging of man-made spaces with the unspoiled space of nature through his installation, A Tree is a Big Plant with a stick up in the Middle (2019). Exposing a tree trunk from Hyde Park, London in a transitional state – positioned on an inclined ramp – the artwork’s components create an ongoing opposing condition of movement and resistance, forming a hermetically-closed construction, which holds itself temporarily together.
The tree trunk, removed as a result of contracting a fatal disease, is held in place by ropes bolted to the plinth, creating a perpetual state of tension. In this context, the plinth becomes a functional part of the artwork. It is integral to resisting the physical forces of gravity created by the installation’s inclined construction and causes the tree trunk to remain motionless, despite it appearing to never fully rest. The plinth is no longer solely a physical support structure, rather, it becomes an active and enabling part of the work.
The installation at Selfridges shows the tree trunk under transformation, a process by which the object is converting into another form and context. By transforming the tree trunk from an object of nature (a tree) to an object of contemplation (an artwork), the work has different inherent purposes. The tree trunk’s native surroundings remain, whilst a geographical de-contextualisation occurs.
A Tree is a Big Plant with a stick up in the Middle is accompanied by a video installation presented in the store’s window, which extends the installation’s reach to visitors both inside and outside the building, and connects the interior of Selfridges with the urban transformation outside it.
The Art Block is Selfridges’ permanent destination for contemporary sculpture, presenting a series of six-month long residencies, showing newly commissioned artworks in captivating and unexpected ways. It is curated in partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Head of Curatorial Programme, Helen Pheby.

‘I’m delighted that the continued partnership with Selfridges has created an ambitious platform for Marco to extend his work into this high profile and prestigious context, where it will be experienced by millions of people, and allows us to continue to support his work and career.’

Helen Pheby

Miehling’s installation follows British artist Matthew Darbyshire’s Brand Deities, three figurative works that play with, subvert and interrogate familiar classical symbols. Observing that many world-wide brands derive from classical deities, Darbyshire reinterpreted the traditional statuary of Nike, Hermes and Mars using the layering method typically seen in digital printing.

More projects with Selfridges


Matthew Darbyshire: Brand Deities

2 Oct 2018–31 Mar 2019

Yorkshire Sculpture Park's partnership with Selfridges continues with new Art Block commission by Matthew Darbyshire.


Holly Hendry: Phyllis

15 May–30 Sep 2018

Selfridges and Yorkshire Sculpture Park are co-curating The Art Block, a new permanent destination for contemporary sculpture within Selfridges – a first in Selfridges’ history.