attila rath geber

« Deer Isle project »


Acadia National Park, Maine, Etats-Unis

granite
2009


The Deer Isle project is a site specific sculptural project based on a relationship between the sculpture and it's ultimate, in situ landscape, entailing a comprehensive examination and analysis of the environment and setting. As the concept of a site specific work does not signify a sculpture’s adaptation to the surroundings, but rather the environment's direct influence on the creation; the unique, unrepeatable formation and existence of the artwork exists solely in that specific location. The result, the art-object is inseparable from its milieu; it is an organic, complex ensemble of the site and the artist's creation.

The artistic presence manifests itself by the nature of the artist’s sensibility and intellectual attitude. The characteristics of a site specific work can vary greatly due to the subjective nature of the artist's reflections. It is favorable that the initiators/supporters of the project had previously chosen the natural site at Scott's Landing. On Deer Isle, nature's presence reminds us of an original untouched state, which has a fundamental influence upon one's very first impression. The granitic substratum and vegetation, shores and the sea, protected by outlying islands, are in a balance of quiet, radiant stability with the sensitive natural elements, forming a specific spatiotemporal experience.

According to my impressions of the quality of the natural constituents of the island, which include important geographical and ecological features, as well as social aspects, my personal connection with the space was reinforced, while the time and the boundaries of the present expanded. The past is transparent from the beginning of written history, and perhaps due to that relative brevity, this element has become personalized by the persons relating said historical facts. Of the period preceding the arrival of the first immigrants, only “prehistoric” memories are known primarily from archaeological reminiscences, while the arrival of the first European immigrants radically interrupted that linearity. From the perspective of an Eurasian historical experience, it is surprising. On the one hand, it reminded me of the different approach to time of these two cultures, while on the other hand the written reports and analyses recalled the outcome of the shocking conflicts provoked by the encounter of the various cultures. Relating this to New England in general, it is certainly an important historical footnote, although in Acadia National Park and on Deer Isle, the spatiotemporal experience is evocative most notably of change brought on by natural factors.

The Deer Isle project was formed without preconceived plans. Specific concepts were developed through interactions with the natural features of the location, and with consideration of the factors mentioned above. Responding as a sculptor using material native to the island determined the possibilities of the project. The space required large dimensions, while the weight constraints and technical-technological conditions set boundaries for the project. In the course of examining the possibilities for the sculpture, I visited a dramatic variety of locations on Deer Isle and on Crotch Island, the quarry from which the granite was donated. Places, people, dialogues: the idea evolved under different impressions while searching for the alternatives.

I wanted to reflect the natural elements. I decided on the creation of an artwork which maintains the greatest respect for its surroundings. I kept the natural aspects of the stone in a form such as could be found in nature, and in this context lies the subtle influence indicative of the creator’s presence. The elaborate stone becomes geomorphic; its appearance, the quality of its surface, is similar to any other natural stone (even ones found in the immediate vicinity); however, its form is simultaneously a contradiction to natural experiences.

The interpretation of the work depends entirely on its environment. The gesture is extremely simple and the conceptual aspects – the sphere of which is intimate, poetic and personal – are evoked by a combined interactive-interpretative presence of several different elements, as well as the most natural placement of the works in the natural environment.