Monday, May 11, 2009

A descent into the maelstrom

Roxy Paine's new sculpture on Metropolitan Museum's rooftop garden is awe-inspiring. As the latest and most ambitious project of his "Dendroids" series, the sculpture resembles a huge branching tree. But this time, it's not just a literal tree standing like in Seattle, nor two trees bending and connecting like in Madison Square Park. The stainless steel pipes do not just extend in diminishing size, but sometimes come together and form a blob. It's a network - almost a becoming-rhizome organism.

The abstract network form makes the object not only a tree destroyed by some force, but the force itself. As titled "Maelstrom," it is immersive. When walking between the branches, you can feel it - a whirpool of force around you. (May the force be with you!)

Roxy Paine's tree is a fictional species. Set at the edge of Central Park, it almost gives you the feeling that it's been uprooted from the park. Yet its artificiality puts it in high contrast to the real green trees in the backdrop. But wait, isn't Central Park artificial anyways?

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