The sculpture Forest Apparatus
is a birch tree in a forest. Even upon close examination it does not seem out of place, although it is in fact a decoy made of steel, building foam, and pigments, which is surrounded by live, growing trees. The innocent observer does not notice anything out of the ordinary; those looking for the fake have the opportunity to lose themselves in the woods. The search for a single tree transforms the forest into an exhibition of trees.
“A tree is a good place to begin. This one has the bark of a white birch. It is some twenty-four feet high; its foliage is obscured by that of neighbouring trees. For most innocent observers the tree remains simply a tree, growing in a forest. For those who know it is not quite a tree, it is Julius von Bismarck’s Forest Apparatus
, an object made of aluminum tubing, coated with building foam, and painted to look like a birch. This apparatus is part of an experimental setup, in which looking for the work of art means scrutinising every tree that is encountered. The search for a tree is a test of the eye. It gives rise to a new way of looking at trees—an exhibition of the forest.”
Text: Laura Schleussner, Egomotion, in ‘Julius von Bismarck – Animals are dumb and plants are even dumber’, p. 24