Tree Etching (Beech Tree, Volkspark Hasenheide, Berlin)

Oliver Laric

Tree Etching (Beech Tree, Volkspark Hasenheide, Berlin), 2022

The Tree Etching introduces a new technique in the practice of the artist.
The visibility and perception of the etching depend on lighting conditions. Lines have been etched into brass panels at 91 different angles, from vertical to horizontal, creating a 3D effect and a feeling of movement as the spectator moves around the work, making it subject to continuous transformation and becoming a vital characteristic in Laric’s practice. Assuming all man-made marks from the scanned tree, including gratify or an engraved heart visible on the left side of the tree trunk, despite the nature of the image, the work rejects principles symptomatic of scientific objectivity, depicting the three instead as matter subject to continuous transformation.

Based on a 3D scan of a random Beech Tree from the Volkspark in Berlin, the framing of the work places emphasis on the tree’s rooting – its structural part, which connects the tree with the ground, suggestive of the interdependency between different types of matter. An emphasis on structural elements has shaped a vital part of Oliver Laric’s practice, even more so, however, in his most recent works. Focusing on its external shell/external structure as a protective shield that is the uneven surface of the tree’s bark, a type of an “exoskeleton”, (a term repeatedly used in the practice of the artist), the work removes itself from traditional hierarchies between primary and secondary matter, while pointing to their interdependency. The 3D model of the tree was generated by Alik Kadoum using photogrammetry. The tree was rendered with ambient occlusion and converted into angled lines using a custom script.

Oliver Laric has exhibited his work at S.M.A.K. (Ghent), Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Guggenheim (Bilbao, Spain), São Paulo Biennale, ICA Boston, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), ExtraCity Kunsthalle (Antwerp), Kunstlerhouse Benthanien (Berlin), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Saint Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, Missouri), among others. Laric's work is part of the collection of the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (Monaco), MUMOK (Vienna), Ferdinandeum (Innsbruck, Austria), Kunsthaus Bregenz (Bregenz, Austria), The Collection Museum (Lincoln, UK), Kunstsammlung (Dusseldorf, Germnay), Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt, Germany), Cleveland Art Museum (Cleveland, Ohio), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Frac Bretagne (Rennes, France), among others.