7000 Oaks / 7000 Chênes — Beuys / Heather Ackroyd & Dan Harvey


Installation, sculpture

7000 Oaks / 7000 Chênes
Beuys / Heather Ackroyd & Dan Harvey

Past: June 27 → July 12, 2014

For the second consecutive year, La Maréchalerie, the contemporary art center of l’énsa-Versailles and Les Moulins, the research and production center founded by artists Lucy + Jorge Orta, combine their respective exhibition and artist in residency program, to present the work of British artist duo Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey in dialogue with the seminal work of Joseph Beuys, 7000 Oaks.

The work of Ackroyd & Harvey combines sculpture, photography, science, architecture and ecology. By investing public spaces, museums and galleries with materials carefully extracted from the natural world, the artists fuse urban and vegetal, nature and culture. Their poetic works, often monumental deal with the fragility of our ecosystem while paying tribute to its incredible resilience.

In 2007, Ackroyd & Harvey made a journey to the German city of Kassel where they gathered and germinated hundreds of acorns from Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Oaks, and in doing so began a new long-term research project, which they entitled Beuys Acorns. The acorns germinated into two hundred surviving saplings, and their ongoing project is to carefully nurture these descendants and embrace Beuys’s declaration that our towns and cities become forests. Beuys Acorns explores the agency of ideas associated with the provenance of the trees, and provokes questions as to the artists’ relationship with nature, climate change and an economic system devoted to market forces and radical exploitation of natural resources. Beuys had a mission, to change the social order. Ackroyd & Harvey ask what the legacy of Beuys’s mission is given to the climate of ecological and economic degradation at the beginning of the 21st century.

Emerging scientific theories show that trees, forests and vegetation are vital to the long-term health of our cities: adding 10% area of trees to city centres cools them by 4 degrees centigrade, climate proofing the city until 2080. In the context of their ongoing research and to coincide with their exhibition at La Maréchalerie, plans are being made for a future planting of seven oaks in the Les Moulins sculpture park this autumn.

Curators : Lucy + Jorge Orta

Ackroyd & Harvey gratefully acknowledge Kristina Bramstorp, Willerby Landscapes and Ockley Court Nursery and for support of “Beuys Acorns”.

  • Opening Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6 PM