Cast in bronze, Talking Tree is an anthropomorphic sculpture – half man, half tree. Resembling a human figure constructed from natural elements such as crops and plants, Francesconi points to the interdependency between the body and earth, gradually separated through modernization and industrialization, significantly affecting western society’s relation to food production, agriculture, and labor market. Working with the symbolic potential of elements, such as roots, which tie the figure to the ground, the shape of a ripe pumpkin reminiscent of a head, or the outreaching branches of a tree, evocative of arms, Talking Tree is characteristic for a materiality, which translates a strong symbolic language characteristic for classical sculpture. The fragile nature of the depicted body, the thin and dry branches supporting the sculpture, echoe the delicate nature of the human body, a body deteriorating under the weakening power of nature, heavily exploited throughout the last hundred years. The evident and disproportionate weight of the head, no longer able to support itself at the top of the fragile body, suggests of the body’s removal from the field through labor’s automatization.
The work is a metaphor and a materialization of the consequences implied by such automatization, which has irrevocably affected man’s relation to the earth, inside, and outside the agricultural field. Marked by a strong sense of materiality, the symbolic language of Francesconi’s work serves to narrate a contemporary crisis, which in its core is not a crisis of agriculture but a socio-political crisis affecting all parts of life.