Connections: The Tree of Life and Death
Connections are everywhere, be they symbolic or literal. Every connection has its purpose, from the tiny fibers of an adult human fibroblast cell, which connects (or adheres) to extracellular matrixes, to trees, with their deep roots, connecting themselves to the ground. See, even these two seemingly different objects, with their own unique connections, can also find a way to be connected to each other. A photograph of a network of adult human fibroblast cells looks oddly similar to that of a pink tree (taken by Heather Champ) found in San Francisco, but, where the cells actually help produce more cells, more life, the pink tree is in fact, dead. It can no longer grow or blossom, like the cells in their own way. That does not mean this tree cannot still be admired aesthetically in some way.
An unknown artist, upon hearing of the death of the tree, decided to give it new life by transforming it into a small but significant urban art piece. Though it was taken down not long after, it shows that even when dead, natural objects such as trees can still be used to make beautiful art.
So artists go one step further, and create art long after a tree has been cut down and transformed into a new object; a piece of paper. Artist Emma Taylor creates a series of work called “From Within A Book” where she takes pages of a book and sculpts various scenes, such as a stork carrying a baby or a person reading a book. One work that particularly stands out is that of a large tree, coming out from between two pages. It reminded me of the pink tree, and even of the fibroblast cells. Like the pink tree, the tree used to make the pages is long dead, but the artist has taken the pages, connecting them together like cells, to create a new tree.
Though not truly living, it is an echo of its former self, and yet, still as beautiful. The tree seems to be one of few natural objects that can be beautiful and inspiring in both life and death.