Exhibition: Among the Trees at the Hayward Gallery – illuminating the beauty of trees

An exhibition that celebrates key works of art that reimagine how we think about trees and forests is set to open at the Hayward Gallery in Southbank Centre.

Spanning the past 50 years, Among the Trees bring together major works by 38 leading international artists from five continents in an exhibition that opens on March 4.

As well as illuminating the beauty of trees, Among the Trees invites aims to help people understand trees as both symbols and living organisms.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and will explore how trees have shaped human civilisation.

Among the Trees covers an expansive and adventurous artistic terrain with works ranging from immersive video installations to life-sized sculptures; from large-scale paintings and drawings to intimate black-and-white photographs.

The works in the exhibition go on a journey of ideas and travel across the globe.

Visitors will encounter images of Colombian rainforests, jungles in Japan, olive orchards in Israel, Scandinavian woods and an underground forest in South Africa.

Incorporating distinctive and often surprising perspectives, the artists in the exhibition question our conventional representations of trees in order to forge new ways of understanding our crucial and multifaceted relationship with arboreal life.

Ralph Rugoff, director, Hayward Gallery said: “At a moment when the destruction of the world’s forests is accelerating at a record pace, Among the Trees brings together the work of leading international artists who urge us to think about the essential roles that trees and forests play in our lives and psyches.

Hopefully visitors will leave the exhibition with a renewed sense of appreciation for both the beauty and complexity of these indispensable organisms.”

Among the Trees will be divided into three sections. In the first, visitors encounter images of trees and forests that call attention to the complexity and connectivity of nature.

The exhibition’s second section features works that play with the blurring line between our concepts of nature and culture.

Artists examine the impact of present-day human activity on nature, with industrial farming and the clear-cutting of woodlands.

In the final section, artists explore the theme of time. Reflecting seasonal changes and with life spans that far exceed our own, trees have long served in art as symbols for mortality.

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