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Tree Temple

Gerrit Rietveld Academie Exhibition, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2009. 22 willow saplings, stained glass mosaic window, portable record player with ‘Recording Heaven’ LP. 1x2x4 metres. Part of the ‘Harmony’ series of works.

The ‘Tree Temple’ installation as a ‘sacred space’ with a stained glass window depicting an unusual archetype from ancient Chinese mythology: white tigers as a symbol of peace and harmony. This was an exploration of the concept that the embracing of new archetypes can have a profound impact on the psyche: new mythologies lead to new inspiration and new ways to construct your reality. A recording of the church bells performance ‘Recording Heaven’ on vinyl LP was played inside the installation.

White Tiger Legend:
During the Han Dynasty in ancient China the tiger was seen as the king of all beasts. The legend was that when a tiger would reach 500 years old its tail would turn white and thus the white tiger became a mythological creature. It was said that the white tiger would only appear when the emperor ruled with complete virtue, or there was peace throughout the world. In this manner the white tiger becomes an emblem for balance, peace and harmony. Further to this, they believed that the white tiger carries the female Yin energy, and in Chinese astrology she corresponds to the seven positions of the moon. A white tiger and a green dragon is a representation of Yin-Yang, always with the white tiger on the right pointing west, as she is the mythological guardian of the west.

In looking for ways to explore religious archetypes and their impact on people on an individual and societal level, stained glass mosaic with its sanctifying and celebrating religious connotations seemed a fitting medium. With humans being the carriers, developers and manifesters of ideas, so stained glass is a filter for light just as the human is a filter for ideas.
The conceptual reasoning is that archetypes in the ‘realm of ideas’ are pulled through human filter into manifestation. In a parallel manner sunlight filters through the created stained glass image of the archetype, hitting the retinas of the human viewer back into the realm of ideas. The connotations of the given archetype are thus subconsciously absorbed and intensified.

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