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Thursday 18 March 2021

Olafur Eliasson's The Forked Forest Path Set To Be Staged In Sussex This Spring

This Spring, Fabrica, Brighton's Centre for Contemporary Art, will present 'fairytale installation', The Forked Forest Path by internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson. 

Credit Olafur Eliasson Studio

The work will be one of Fabrica's most immersive exhibitions to date, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary year. 

Visitors will be immersed in a space filled with branches, saplings and thinnings, combined with a strong, earthy smell reminiscent of a forest floor. All this works to create the illusion of being lost in a dense wooded environment. 

Liz Whitehead, Director, Fabrica, said: 

"Through this playful and sensual artwork, visitors will be asked to consider their relationship with nature, their ideas about the countryside and find out about the woods nearby that people can visit for themselves. 

"In the past year, many of us in urban areas have spent so much more of our time outdoors due to the coronavirus measures. 

"If you've become a little bored of your regular walks, now is a great time to discover how beautiful, beneficial and biodiverse our local woods are."

The Forked Forest Path evokes a strong sense of 'the woods' and our relationship to this aspect of nature and human folklore.

The artist's stipulation for recreating The Forked Forest Path is that exhibitors must source branches and saplings locally and sustainably in order to create it.

As with many of Eliasson's works, audiences are encouraged to physically engage with it in order to to fully immerse themselves in the experience. 

In this case, visitors enter via a narrow winding path which forks in the middle of the installation where they must actively choose one path to continue their adventure.

Eliasson is known for his commission, The Weather Project (2003), which famously recreated a replica of the sun in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall among other projects across the world.

Created in 1998, and one of the artist's earlier works, The Forked Forest Path is part of Towner Eastbourne's Collection, a collection with a focus on landscape and environment, among other themes. 

The work has previously been shown in gallery spaces but Fabrica offers a fresh and different proposition, creating the opportunity for Eliasson's piece to connect sculpturally and materially with the architecture of the building. 

Fabrica have been working, since 2019, with Foxwood Forestry near Lewes, East Sussex and the Stanmer Park management team, part of Brighton & Hove City Council, to generate the material for the exhibition. 

When the exhibition closes, the wood will be chipped and recycled  as mulch for growing new trees at Stanmer Park. 

Founded in 1996, Fabrica is based in the former Holy Trinity Church. Fabrica responds to the building and its history through a programme of site-specific exhibitions and a diverse engagement programme, using creative and social activity to provoke investigation into how audiences look at the world. 

This exhibition hopes to continue  this tradition, in particular, encouraging visitor wellbeing, which has been linked to time spent in forests and woods. 

Produced in collaboration with Brighton Festival, the exhibition will run from 18th May to 20th June 2021.

by: Mike Cobley


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