Amazonia Tree of Life
Materials: Bronze, Murano glass, UTM certificate of moral ownership
Dimensions: Bronze: 135 x 55 x 65cm plinth
Catalogued: Glasstress 2013: White Light White Heat, catalogue 55th Venice Biennale
Exhibition history: 2013 Palazzo Franchetti, Glasstress, 55th Venice Biennale, Italy; The Wallace Collection London, UK
Courtesy: Private Collection
Specially commissioned for the Venice Biennale international art exhbition White Light / White Heat, Tree of Life is a magnificent bronze olive branch sourced from the Tuscan olive groves onto which are carefully grafted the delicate blossoms of handcrafted glass flowers blown by the master artisan Danilo Zanella at the Berengo Studio in Murano, Venice.
This sculpture is the most recent addition to Lucy + Jorge Orta’s ambitious Perpetual Amazonia project. During an expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009, the artists photographed hundreds of rainforest plant species, creating a personalised collection of florilegium they continue to add to today. These florae have since been transformed into large format photographs, drawings, couture works, porcelain and now glass. Each artwork is accompanied by a certificate of ‘moral ownership’ assigned to a precise hectare of land in the Manú region of the Amazon. The hectare was divided by the artists into 10,000 one-metre by one-metre subplots, each identified by its Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) reference, which is registered on the certificate.
Through the Perpetual Amazonia project Lucy + Jorge Orta campaign to restore our focus to the world around us, both its beauty and its imperilled state. They strive to revive our deep enjoyment of nature and to convey its value to our daily lives. Tree of Life is a powerful allegory of the fragile balance among the many thousands of species that depend on the Amazon for sustenance. Ours most of all.