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Responding To Chave’s 'minimalism, Aura, And Place'

858 words - 4 pages

I’m not a particularly spiritual or religious person in general. Nor does art or any aesthetic experience every really evoke those revelations in me. The only experience I can think of that comes close is the first time I saw Giuliano Mauri’s Tree Cathedral in Bergamo, Italy. Within the framework of our class, I think it would be most appropriately called an earthwork or possibly a site construction. This work is located near the base of a mountain and is what’s called a “living sculpture.” In the early 2000s, Mauri set up a series of wooden poles to emulate the look of the columns a cathedral. Inside he planted saplings, that would grow inside of the columns and eventually would grow so ...view middle of the document...

As an artwork, Mauri’s Tree Cathedral does quite a lot to invoke these emotions. First of all, this work has a real presence about it due primarily to its scale and location. It sits at the crest of a small, plain hill, yet is surrounded by overgrown forests.The work is very large, and seems even more so because it rests above everything around it. The resulting effect is that this constructed cathedral looks as if it is rising from untouched land. From far away as you approach this work, that effect is even more striking. Yet, it doesn’t seem obtrusive in anyway. Since this work is built entirely from wood (without any industrial materials seen in minimalist works) it fits in with the landscape quite well. This work also has a very open sense of space, due to its large pathway and huge gaps that allow those inside to look at the landscape surrounding it. This means that despite its large scale, it feels like a naturally occurring wonder, almost like walking through a forest that just happens to look like a cathedral. Although it is a permanent earthwork installation in Bergamo, it never seems like the artificial work that it is, it feels and looks like a naturally occurring illusion. If it never feels like a piece of art that is blatantly alluding to religious imagery, that’s because it mostly isn’t. Tree Cathedral is has the same literal expression and presentness and that...

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