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* 1953 Mikasa, Hokkaido, Japan. Lives in Tokyo and Paris.
Tree Huts in Bruges
20 May - 18 October 2015
The Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata has suspended a series of tree huts in the trees of the lovely inner gardens of the Bruges Beguinage. They are extremely poetic sculptures, in which he pushes the boundaries between art, architecture and nature. And they have a unique power to appeal to the spectator in many ways. They are surprising and peculiar and at the same time we all recognise our childhood fantasies of tree huts, secret hiding places and adventurous dream worlds.
They possess the unique beauty of something that appears not to originate directly from an artist's imagination, but from all our imagination. They are human constructions yet they appear to have grown organically. And all this naturally makes the tree huts extremely rich and layered. They are huts, nests, hiding places and observation perches etc.
Man has always isolated himself in high, remotely accessible locations. To escape danger or to meditate. Monks and hermits retreated into tall trees, caves and mountainsides. Just as the beguines retreated to their beguinage, consciously choosing a secluded life within a walled environment that was difficult to access. In the Renaissance they were sometimes playful, secret places in the gardens of rich lords and later they reappeared in the stories of Robinson Crusoe and all kinds of lost adventurers.
Kawamata has already stormed New York, Florence and Paris with his radical, poetic sculptures and tree huts. And wherever he goes, he engages in an intense dialogue with the environment, of which the work truly becomes a part. Moreover he consistently applies an extremely organic and improvisational work-in-progress method in which he works closely with students from art schools and local technicians. The teamwork and the use of found or used materials are part of the organic process in which the work grows almost naturally.
(© Text: Walking Guide, Bruges Triennial 2015)
Projects by 14 participants, mainly in the public space at the city center of Bruges. Part of the Triennale Brugge 2015, 20 May - 18 October 2015.