David Nash

"First the tree, then the form"

February 4, 2018 – June 3, 2018

Introduction: Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Ullrich
Art Academy Münster

The present exhibition at Museum Lothar Fischer is dedicated to David Nash (*1945 in Esher/Surrey), one of the most important European sculptors. Nash, who studied at the academies of fine arts in Kingston and Brighton and at the Chelsea School of Art in London in the 1960s, has been awarded numerous prizes. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and a knight of the British Empire.

Since the end of the 1960s, David Nash has been living and working in North Wales, where in 1967 he bought a deconsecrated church and turned it into his workshop. There, in an area of forested hills he has created his characteristic single sculptures in wood and in bronze as well as his renowned nature installations and landscape projects.

In all his works David Nash explores nature and puts the focus of his creative work on the idea of the living tree. “From tree to form” is the credo of the sculptor, who transforms the sensuality of nature into sculpture, gives the wooden material an artistic structure. The proportions of his wooden sculptures are usually predetermined by the chosen raw material and the dimensions of the tree trunks. In most cases, Nash prefers used wood, matured timber. But he also turns freshly cut branches or even living trees into objects of art, always considering the different colours and structures of his material. He also likes experiments with burnt or carbonized wood. Unlike the representatives of American land art, Nash considers the idea of protecting the environment. He would not dream of felling a tree for his art.

Red and Black Cross Column is a sculpture whose burnt-in red and black crosses indirectly refer to destruction and extinction. For his sculpture Sliced Egg he takes one of the basic shapes in nature and in life, but manages to make out of the waxed wood an artistic form which is unnatural and creates a  tension with the natural material from which it is formed. In this respect it bears a resemblance to Red Sliced Pod, where the sculptor by cutting serial structures into the massive pieces of wood gives the material a playful airiness.

The fascinating views over the nearby park that the museum offers to its visitors underline how profoundly Nash´s sculptural work is determined by nature. And this 42nd special exhibition at Museum Lothar Fischer with about 40 works by David Nash is an excellent example again of the harmony of architecture, sculpture and nature.

We owe a debt of gratitude to David Nash and Galerie Scheffel, Bad Homburg, for the cooperation and the generous loans.