Nature features heavily in the works of the Unintentional Art Movement. Earth’s Mouth is another example. It immediately reminds us of the intentional artworks of Dali or Magritte, where nature also becomes anthropomorphic . Whether it’s a rock formation in the shape of a woman or a woman clad in a slightly cloudy blue sky, the paintings of these two giants of surrealism are iconic. Magritte also branched out, adding birds to the sky, moons inside trees or a giant eagle that becomes a rock formation.
Earth’s Mouth seems to be in the same vein, with the very important difference that it’s an unintentional artwork, with different layers adding to the uniqueness of this surreal yet very real work. First of all there’s the seemingly literal link between the roots of the tree, used to feed the tree and necessary to make it grow, and the mouth depicted here. The roots have the same function as the mouth.
But just like with landing bird this can be seen as another work criticizing the way we interact with our environment. The roots are pulled out of the ground and the mouth can only appear because the direct link between the two is cut. Will the tree survive? It leaves the audience wonder about the fate and the future.
The mouth is a very fitting symbol. Nature is losing ground because we selfishly claim its natural resources, not in the least to feed ourselves. The mouth, wide open, can also be seen as a way of critiquing our general greed, our need for materialism that is oppressing nature and perhaps even altering human nature itself.
The work can be found Beddgelert in North-Wales. Due to the nature of this work it’s possible that at some point it will be gone.
“Landing Bird” is a strong visual work, defined by a striking simplicity when it comes to the chosen material, but a complex interaction with its environment and the meaning of the artwork.
The artwork features a piece of black plastic, playfully jammed in a leafless tree, standing in a desolate Lowland landscape. From a distance the spectator might be deceived into thinking it is a big, black bird. Is it a raven? A crow? A jackdaw perhaps? The spastic and inconsistent movement, caused by the strong wind, draw the attention of walkers or other random spectators.
The use of plastic is of course not a coincidence, despite the artwork itself being very unintentional. It is a strong allusion on the pollution of our planet and our direct environment. It alludes to the plastic soup in our oceans, as well as air pollution, symbolized by the waving piece of plastic. The “Landing Bird” has a clear double message. Pollution is everywhere and it’s killing of biodiversity and is threatening fauna and flora on our planet.
The black colour adds an element of danger or ill-fate. For centuries the black bird has been seen as a symbol of evil, a harbinger of bad news, a storm crow. Cleverly, this universal representation of hazard is present in the work. And here the landing bird is composed of the thing we should be afraid of, the disintegration of our natural environment by our own garbage, caused by overconsumption and general carelessness.
“Landing Bird” is an example of a temporary artwork. We do not know if it will stay, it can easily be blown away.
The monumentality of this artwork cannot be denied, and more importantly, due to its vastness it cannot be ignored either. The result is irrefutably impressive, a literally major piece of art with a surface of 584 km² (225 square miles), reaching a maximal depth of 310 meters (1017 feet). Despite the immensity of the artwork, it’s in no way bombastic or overtly in your face.
The work itself is defined by softened shapes and blends perfectly in its natural environment. Due to the size one can automatically question the value of surface and depth as defining elements of this work. Perhaps the artwork is so colossal that they become abstract notions, limits that are there and at the same time aren’t. Spectators can ignore these dimensions. Perhaps one can bluntly state that a work of art so big and all-encompassing is bound to become limitless to the individual.
On a conceptual level the depth of the artwork IS important, because it contrasts with the mountaintops that can be seen in the distance, and that become part of the artistic context of Lac Leman. It is a typical reference to the lifecycles of human beings, the highs and the lows that characterize and define each individual’s existence. Perhaps it’s telling that only the lake is part of the artwork. Does the artist want to tell us that life is all about the lows?
The striking blue color creates yet another blurry distinction, between the air and the water. It makes us consider our own position and the nature of reality. This effect is intensified by the reflection in the water and the visual effects of the natural lightning. The reflection in Lac Leman will never be the same, depending on time and position of the spectator. This means that every time a new interpretation of the artwork is given to the audience, with each member having a unique point of view and experience. It tells us we are living in a multi-reality.
The spectator creates the work of art, because his or her point of view is essential for a personalized experience. But there is another way in which the audience might participate in the creation or alteration of this impressive work. One can literally delve into the work, created entirely out of liquid material, and can add shapes or waves, as the artists call them, to Lac Leman. The artwork can be found on the border of Switzerland and France and has a 24/7 accessibility.