Ash to Ash by internationally recognised artists Ackroyd & Harvey is a major new environmental artwork commissioned by The Ash Project. As part of their process the artists have undertaken a substantial research and development project, creating a work that responds to the loss of ash across the globe. Currently in fabrication, the artwork will launch in 2018. More details will follow this summer.
“The sound of the trees suffering is audible. But we need to develop new organs of perception so that we can hear this sound in the world, recognise what it means and shape new social forms that do not continue this great suffering of all nature.” (From a discussion with Beuys in 1980)
The artists are undertaking a substantial research and development project as part of this work, connecting to scientists, researchers, craftspeople and thinkers to create a new work that responds to the loss of ash across the globe.
“Processes of growth and decay are integral to our time-based art practice. In the last ten years, living trees have featured significantly in our artwork, from oak trees germinated from acorns collected from Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Oaks artwork, to a series of ten large trees holding huge engraved rings at the major entrances to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Ash presents a distinct challenge given the pervasiveness of the fungal infection affecting millions of ash trees across the country. Landscapes, parks and gardens will be irrevocably changed as landmark canopy trees and copses of ash disappear. Our research has revealed a hidden wealth of industries carved from the ash, a myriad of wooden objects and artefacts that occupy historical significance and domestic use. Mythologies address the Ash as the tree at the centre of the world, the ‘cosmic’ tree. Contemporary science is studying genetic traits to understand how to cultivate disease resistant Ash stock. The emotional, social and metaphorical relationship with this tree gives deep- rooted material for our artistic exploration.”
– Heather Ackroyd & Dan Harvey
For over 25 years, Ackroyd & Harvey have exhibited in contemporary art galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide; sculpture, photography, architecture, ecology and biology intersect in their work, revealing an intrinsic bias towards process and event. Often reflecting environmental and scientific concerns, they are acclaimed for large- scale interventions in sites of architectural interest. Their work inspires viewers to think differently about their relationships to space and environment. Recent commissions have traced species loss across the globe. In 2012 they produced History Trees across the Olympic park recording the histories of the sites excavation.