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Artwork Details:

  • TypeSculpture
  • Year2014
  • MediumBronze
  • Dimensions240h x 210w x 155d cm (approximate)
More about this artwork:

"The bonsai is very interesting because there is no such thing as a ‘bonsai tree’. There are only trees; and the bonsai tree is a tree that has had its roots pruned. It’s like the tree has been subjugated to human desire and interference its whole life. Its roots have been cropped and it has been kept in a very small amount of soil, but it’s been watered and has been given food so it has played out its natural life cycle in a tiny way. If you took that tiny tree out of its pot and planted it in the garden, it would turn into a five-metre tree. It’s a bit like a frozen sculpture. In fact, it’s only a bonsai tree because humans are keeping the conditions exactly right in order to keep it at that scale. It’s not ‘natural’, it’s a kind of human interaction with nature. It’s frozen, and that’s why I called the series “Held by Desire”. It’s only human desire that’s holding them into this kind of shape. In this exhibition, I’ve installed the big, 2.5 metre bonsai tree, which makes us feel like a bonsai because we become small compared to this enormous tree that we know is originally from a series of small trees. So, in a way, it’s back to the idea that although we may think we control nature, once you actually try to control it, you create monsters." - From the Arter catalogue, in conversation with Tim Marlow.

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