Yesterday I went to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York. I had been admiring the Living Pyramid online and I wanted to experience its effect for myself. It is a four-sided pyramid made of wooden boxes filled with soil and plants The Pyramid measures 30 feet in each direction. The graceful curvature of the sides going upward create an optical illusion. From a distance it did not seem very tall at all. Standing up close, I could feel the impact of its size.
Agnes Denes is the creator of this amazing structure. She is a unique artist as she combines the simple elegance of the geometric shape with the complexity of nature in a variety of grasses and plants. This project required coordinating scientific and engineering collaborations in addition to a community planting event on the official opening day. The message of power and ambition typically represented by a pyramid is softened by the impermanence of the flowers, the scruffiness of the grasses, and the dirt under the fingernails of the planters. The Living Pyramid is scheduled to remain at the Park until October 31, 2015. After that the Pyramid will be disassembled, the soil and the plants will become part of the park’s landscaping.
Another of Denes’ visionary creations is Tree Mountain- A Living Time Capsule. This man-made mountain in Finland is now covered by 11,000 trees planted by 11,000 people from around the world. The purpose is to provide bioremediation of an area damaged by mining. The government has committed to protecting the area for 400 years allowing Nature to reestablish a healthy ecosystem.
If you are curious to learn more you can visit these websites agnesdenesstudio.com and socratessculpturepark.org.
I admire Agnes Denes as an inspiring example of creating in public artworks her vision for environmental and human shifts as well as artistic beauty.