The Floating Forest
Is it the tree that doesn’t let you see the forest or it is the forest what doesn’t let you see the tree?…
“The Floating Forest” title started from the reflection shared with artist Jill Rock on the “The Floating World” novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, the light weight of the rice paper that I was using to develop my project and the way I wanted to hang it, suspended from invisible elastic threads.
After many years of being attracted by trees, their magnificent nature, their rooted symbolism in our subconscious, their magnetic, rich, mysterious and protective presence, and maybe because in my practice I have been searching in them for what I think that we, humans, are missing, very naturally this body of work has been growing around me as if it was alive. I was not intending to create a forest until I realized that it was there.
Our perceptions change dramatically whenever we enter a forest. Everything acquires an enormous presence that reveals its true nature: the nature of an entity formed by all the living creatures within, capable of communicating with the awakened senses of man.
From a similar perspective I have been working with the paper, the water, the pigments, the inks… in an attempt to go through all the process as if I was entering and crossing the forest itself, experiencing the journey from the same level, letting the labyrinth of strokes, stains, prints, masses, entanglement of light and shadows to overwhelm me as it happens when I walk into them.
If the project as it is presented now was born during an intense three day residency in London with artist Jill Rock in May 2018, it continued with full force during a month residency in Trélex, Switzerland, in March 2019. There, not just the walks taken into the Jura’s Forest, but also the experience of meeting a group of other resident women artists with whom another linked archetype was developed, the motherhood, inevitably caused stories to emerge. These stories are my experience of the forest, and they are remembered, recreated and enacted within the forest, and doing so turning into the core of this primordial being to which I also belong.
My story started saying: “I went to the forest and I had seven kids”. But that is my very personal story and once this floating forest is mounted, the stories are going to be the experiences of those who, following some kind of call or just curiosity, dare to enter it. After all, this is not aiming to be anything other than scenery in which, perhaps, we could find traces of our lost self.
Montse Gallego, September 2019.
This exhibition has been possible thanks to the support and generosity of Nina Rodin and her family in Trélex, Switzerland, and of GreatArt London.
The Floating Forest is dedicated to my dearest seven children and all my family