In the old days, forests were not part of man-made landscapes but impenetrable wilderness.
Woods were a place of danger, places to get lost, of wild animals, ghosts, robbers and bandits. It is therefore no accident that Dante’s inferno lies in a forest.
Men avoided the depth of the woods and certainly didn’t value them as a place for recreation and recollection. And although forests were economically exploited they always remained uncanny and somehow misanthropic places.
Despite of this - or maybe for that reason - there is a fascinating variety of forest representations in the arts. Forests have always been a source of inspiration to artists.
Since our return from Tokyo, where we lived and worked for 16 years, the floodplain near my new place of home is inspiring me.
Each season elicits new mysteries from the floodplain. Every time of the day brings out new light and different shadows.
Shadows, trees, branches, shrubs and leaves form an almost countless variety of shapes, tinctures and compositions. And after every flood the landscape is completely changed.
Plants sprout, grow, climb and creep towards the light. Others die, fall on the ground, become decayed, rotten and fade.
Like in front of the gates of Dante’s inferno it is all about life and death.