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Dennis Oppenheim: Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components


As with much of Oppenheim's earlier work, Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components act as a dialogue, this time between the natural and artificial landscape and as a comment on the act of creating environments.

The first location for this work, the seemingly natural environment of Central Park, was purposefully designed and manipulated by man. Similarly, the Bretton Estate, home to YSP's rolling landscape, was originally a carefully designed private pleasure ground and now, as an open-air gallery, provides a contrasting backdrop to Oppenheim's installation. Oppenheim also explores the mechanisms and communication of how artistic ideas are formed – the emotions we experience as the viewer and how involved we become in the work. His work often uses an element of risk or humour in order to fully involve the viewer and communicate his experience of the creative process.


Towards the end of the 1970s Oppenheim began to produce what he referred to as machine pieces, described as ‘thought collision factories’. In 2006 the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, New York, opened Alternative Landscape Components: A New Land Art, an exhibition in which Oppenheim constructed highly artificial landscapes from trees, flowers and hedges made in steel, acrylic and household objects. These Trees were part of this exhibition and have been shown at Blickachsen 7 in Germany.