Five artists have been selected to develop proposals for the £30,000 commission for the Jerwood Open Forest initiative in 2016. They are
- urban wilding artist Rebecca Beinart, whose proposal explores the relationship between care and loss through an ambitious live work bringing together a collection of stories about lost trees, personal experience and wider themes of deforestation and collective memory, experienced as a series of one-to-one encounters.
- sonic artist focusing on the idea of radio Magz Hall, who will develop an interactive trail of radio transmissions through the forest, playfully enabling trees to whisper to each other. She envisages members of the public recording their secrets and dreams into simple radio hardware disguised within a tree.
- radical ceramicist and also sonic artist Keith Harrison, who proposes to work with BMXers to construct a series of mud jumps through the forest, and the public launching of a prototype car formed from the same mud in a multi-faceted performative sculpture that brings together industrial forces within the context of the forest.
- sculptor exploring industrial materials and forms David Rickard plans to use reclaimed timber from across the UK, imprinting each piece with details of its previous location and function, in a vast forest installation which explores the cyclical journey of the forest’s trees.
- Australian painter and sculptor David Turley, whose proposal centres on a ‘Men of the Trees Forestry Diary’ from 1947, which documents the daily life of a man planting trees in Orlestone Forest, near Ashford, Kent. The work will engage with social and cultural events described in the notebook’s pages and its specific historical narrative.
They will each receive a £2,000 research and development fee with which to expand on the concept of their proposals, test feasibility and explore potential sites within England’s Public Forest Estate.
Each artist will benefit from a six-month research and development period and take part in a group exhibition in November at Jerwood Space, London. In addition to being supported by the teams at Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England, they will attend a programme of developmental activities as a peer group including workshops and advisory sessions alongside one-to-one mentoring sessions. The artist selected for the commission will be announced towards the end of 2016.
I’m looking forward to seeing what emerges. Rebecca Beinart’s work appeals best to me, personally, although all of them are fairly unusual proposals.