Born in the 1960s, this form of expression was relaunched with international competitions and festivals and the works, often made up of trees and roots, change over time along with the landscape. Land Art is the spectacle of human inventiveness that blends with nature, a fascinating bond, capable of giving unique emotions and suggestions.
Italy holds many examples of land art, which can draw various itineraries on the traces of contemporary art in a continuous dialogue with nature. Land Art is effectively an art gallery with no walls, where your gaze can roam freely as far as the woods and mountains beyond the artworks, where you can smell the fragrance of forests and flowers, hear the raindrops fall and watch animals wander generously among the sculptures.
In the winter wonderland region of Trentino – Alto Adige (home to the Unesco-listed Dolomites), even art lives hand-in-hand with nature. Now that Christmas is around the corner and hopefully, in the New Year, we’ll be able to travel again, we’ve selected 4 land art parks in this mountainous, snow-capped area which are a truly mesmerizing experience for a curious and art-oriented traveler.
Arte Sella is the open-air museum born in 1996 in Val di Sella, the northern area of Trentino, and it has been growing and renewing itself for more than thirty years, amidst luxuriant woods and sculptural mountains in the background, thanks to the interventions of over three hundred artists. Following its path, breathing its air, listening to its melody made up of streams and birdsong, is an experience that in this moment more than even helps to keep dreams alive and, if possible, cultivate new ones.
In this Louvre of nature the itinerary is fascinating in every season but in winter, covered by a blanket of snow, it is even more special. The project develops in different areas: the garden of Villa Strobele, the area of Malga Costa – a center that hosts also events, concerts and exhibitions – and the connecting Montura path. The artists at Arte Sella, without making radical changes to the territory, are invited to recover the material of their creative expression in the nearby forest, thus using wood, branches, leaves, stones and soil.
In this sense, the creators are no longer at the center of the project but leave room for the work of art, which over time can also disappear. If some installations vanish, others become more and more impressive, like the Plant Cathedral built in 2001 by Giuliano Mauri near Malga Costa, pictured here. This work of art and architecture is the size of a 12-meter high three-nave Gothic cathedral with an area of 1220 square meters: it has 420 supporting columns, 500 rings and 300 twigs intertwined to make up the scaffolding.
Hornbeam trees are planted inside the columns, which were designed by the artist to accompany the plants in their growth and then make way for 80 pillar-shaped shrubs. Everything here is a merger, including visitors, which are an essential part of the process of evolution and comparison between art and nature.
RespirArt is one of the highest art parks in the world and the highest open-air museum in Italy between the altitudes of 2000 and 2200 meters, in the Val di Fiemme area, also in the region of Trentino. This park, curated by Beatrice Calamari and Marco Nones since 2011, is filled with works of land art created by local and international artists, with the aim of generating a timeless dialogue between contemporary art and the Dolomite peaks of the Latemar, declared a Natural World Heritage Site by Unesco.
The work pictures here is the first installation in Italy by the land artist Olga Zimeska. With branches of birch trees, Swiss pine and hazelnuts, she created a mosaic where each wood represents a human cell. The empty space, the mind, focuses on the nature of the Latemar. The structure is static, while nature is movement. “Man often acts as a static observer of the beauty that surrounds him – explained the artist, without realizing that he himself is nature, nature in motion”.
Among the works made by internationally renowned artists, the park boasts one by Hidetoshi Nagasawa who created, with Trentino porphyry stones, an installation dedicated to Danae, a figure from Greek mythology, a stone labyrinth containing a magnificent boulder surrounded by flowers.
Every summer, new artistic installations appear, including concerts and literary meetings organized in the Latemar open-air theater. The creative gesture of “letting go” of art in nature invites us to rely on changes and, therefore, on life itself which is a continuous transformation.
TRENTINO THE BREATH OF THE TREES
It is called “The breath of the trees” and it’s the new thematic path of art and nature of the Municipality of Lavarone. Not far from the towns of Lanzino and Chiesa, in the locality of Tomazol, a permanent exhibition in the woods tells the silent life of trees. The guiding element of the individual works is the tree as an element of life.
The landscape views of Vigolana, the Brenta Dolomites, Val Centa and Lake Caldonazzo allow a reading of the territory full of emotions and suggestions. The path, 2.4 km long, to be repeated on the way back, is part of the “Lavarone Trekking” circuit. Each work is a discreet reflection that merges with what is around it, a tribute to a functional or “spiritual” characteristic of the tree, an authentic element of life in the ecosystem.
SMACH was born in 2012 in the region of Alto Adige. The founders, Michael Moling, Katy Moling and Gustav Willeit, had and have a specific goal: to encourage and implement cultural tourism in Val Badia, creating a path to enhance the Dolomites through site-specific works by artists. Each work has a precise mission: to trigger people’s interest in art, enhancing the area of the Dolomites in which they are immersed.
Through a dialogue between art and nature, the artists want to promote a thorough and continuous awareness of the historical, cultural and traditional aspects of this area. Homestead by Arianna Moroder, pictured here, consists of a composition of colored sweaters placed on the ground in a harmonious synthesis. For about 10 years, the artist has been collecting pullovers of people she has met during her life and who, for this work, she has stitched together.
Each single piece represents the piece of a mosaic that blends with nature, creating a unique chromatic contrast. Exposed to the elements the sweaters fade and a symbiosis will be established with the surrounding lawn.