One of the sculptures is standing in the passage between the exterior and interior, the other a bit further off from the building, thereby opening up to the surrounding landscape. Both are modelled on nature – enlarged versions of three fir-tree branches and an avocado skin respectively. Both these elements of nature thus attain a new sculptural dimension, where details that usually go unnoticed take on new meaning.
Beyond the specific sculptural techniques, Into the Wild could also be said to highlight two of the fundamental models for what architecture can represent, which have figured throughout history in most accounts of the origins of building. On the one hand, we find the closed, supporting construction, the excavation of the solid volume, the cave and the enclosure, where the skeleton has become externalised and protective; on the other, the branches positioned as an initial support, the “tectonics” of architecture, as a way of distributing and mastering gravity, and where the supporting element is an inner principle that can be covered with an outer shell.
Commenting on his work, the artist writes about how the study and enlargement of natural shapes has “become a way of travelling to a place that is not man-made”. This voyage into the wild is, in some sense, a voyage back to nature, an attempt to cast off our own preconceptions. But it could also be a way of contemplating how nature is incorporated and becomes a supporting and meaningful element in our artistic constructions, how it is transformed and remodelled, giving rise to potential forms.
“Imitation of nature” has been a fundamental principle of art ever since ancient Greece, but should not be understood as simple depiction or representation. In a way, art imitates nature, as Aristotle writes, but in another way it completes nature and utilises it to finish that which nature could not complete on its own. Skin and branches, enclosure and support, are two such formative principles that allow nature and art to interact.