AMONG T HE T R E ES Beautiful, stirring forest of art This group exhibition, presented at London's Hayward Gallery, explores the complex human relationshipwith trees and forests, as well as their role in our lives and imaginations THIRTYSEVEN INTER NATIONAL ARTISTS DRAW OUR ATTENTIONTOTREES, awe-inspiring life forms that they are. In meditative works across different media, the artists explore how trees – which have lifespans far exceeding our own – challenge how we think about time and consider how intimately entangled trees are with human affairs. Among the Trees transports us around the world, from theColombian rainforests and remote Japanese islands, to olive groves in Israel and a 9,550-yearold spruce in Sweden. At a time when the destruction of the world’s forests is acceleratingat recordspeed, Among theTrees surveyshowartistshave responded to the crucial role trees play inour lives and imaginations. Spanning thepast 50years –aperiod that coincideswith themodern environmental movement – it brings together artworks that ask us to think about trees and forests indifferent ways. Environmental writer Barry Lopez has noted that “woods defeat the viewfinder... they cannot be framed”. Even a single bough can stretch the limits of our visual comprehension.With layers of interlacing branches and thousandsuponthousandsof leaves (amatureoakmight havewell over 200,000 leaves insummer), trees are stunningly complex and often visually confounding. Many of the artists participating in this exhibition highlight Among the Trees » Među drvećem | 69 those characteristics in an attempt to engage us in an exploratory process of observing. Unlike classical landscape representations, many of the exhibited works avoid the easy orientation offered by foreground, vista and horizon. Instead they invite us to lose ourselves and to experience – on some level – that uncanny thrill of momentarily losing our way in a forest, and seeing our surroundings through fresh eyes.