Charred wood and green moss
David Nash

Charred wood, green moss, variable size

Command of the Centre d’art (owner Ciap) in 1989

David Nash, for whom “nature and reality are synonymous”, works exclusively in wood, with a power saw and more traditional tools. The works repeatedly use the same forms: the artist tries to get as close as he can to the perfect gesture. The sculptor’s previous experiences, his current aesthetic preoccupations, the themes he has already worked on and reconsidered are the essential elements of his creative process. The quality of the chosen tree, the environment in which he intervenes, are also taken into account. The ensemble of David Nash’s work consists in establishing a continuity, a translation between natural and cultural milieu.

Charred wood and green moss is a spiral inspired by Celtic tradition, made of bits of charred wood placed on a bed of moss in a clearing. David Nash chose a diseased oak to perform this work. The pieces carved by the artist were charred by fire together with the remains of the tree. 

Besides the chromatic rapport between the black logs and the green moss (evoking the artist’s memory of the landscape: the green vegetation and the black lake), the four elements are recalled here: the fire of the charred wood, the earth that supports them, the vital water and air. David Nash’s works are conceived to be in constant evolution with nature.

Descending Vessel, one of the two pieces created for the sculpture park at Vassivière, is carved inside a fir tree still standing, chosen for its cover, its position, and also because it threatened to collapse. In a way, David Nash assures it a new life. If Vessel indicates the vessel ready to float on the lake, it must also be read in its sense of container: the work, planted at the water’s edge and rooted in the earth, casts itself upwards towards the sky and contains the air and fire of the sun in this opening carved by the artist. The sculpture thus symbolically joins sky to earth, but also earth and sky to water. Following the 1999 storm that caused it damage, the work was destroyed in 2005 at the artist’s request.


Copyright: Jacques Hoepffner