The Family Tree

The glowing sculpture installation, exhibited together with The Tree of Life
and They Were Here installations as a part of The Ghostly Guests exhibition
in the LUX Söderlångvik festival, Kemiö island, Finland

 

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This installation is based on my interest in history and the fate of past generations. I know how fragile human life is, and how quickly generations fall into oblivion. I have researched my own family history, but I still do not know much about it. In this project I created a big family tree with people belonging to different social groups, nationalities and cultures mixed together in the same way as in real life.

In this installation I take advantage of the beauty and structure of a natural tree and mount glowing human figures I have created on the branches so that the timeline emerges at the bottom and climbs upwards: generations change, clothes and hairstyles become more and more modern. In the upper branches there are only figures of children – they represent the latest generation.

The figures are made of galvanized steel wire and wire mesh. They are sprayed with the UV-sensitive paint. Thanks to the strong UV light the characters glow in the dark but remain transparent. Despite their durability, the figures look very fragile and delicate, expressing the fragility of human life. The entire composition consists of 70 small metal sculptures.

The magic atmosphere of the installation is supported by the soundtrack created by the sound artist Petri Laakso. Beautiful music—a fragment of Max Richter’s “Sleep”, 2015—is combined with the hum of different languages, whispers, laughter and songs, and sounds of different instruments. The installation can be always mounted in a new place where a suitable tree can be found.

The artist is deeply grateful to all people who shared their family stories to be used in the soundtrack of the installation.

Alexander Reichstein
Sound: Petri Laakso
Technical assistance: Martin Hackenberg

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