Falling Garden, by Steiner & Lenzlinger

Falling Garden, by Swiss artists Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger


NOTE: a few readers misunderstood that the photographs shown here are the display that I
made in Vermont last weekend. Alas, I wish it were true. These photos show the work of two
extraordinary Swiss artists, Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. Ours was beautiful,
but on a much smaller scale and in a much smaller building. Photographs didn’t
convey the design so I chose not to share any.


A recent flurry of building things with branches brought to mind this extraordinary garden, made by Swiss artists  Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger for the 50th Biennial of Venice in 2003, installed in San Staë church on the Canale Grande. I first saw this breathtaking image on Pinterest. It pushes me to think loftier thoughts of what can be done with twigs, but it also just takes my breath away, on a morning so cold and icy that real green garden seem only a dream. Here is the artists’ statement about the exhibit:

The Doge (Mocenigo) needed a church so as to be able to have a monumental tomb built for himself,
the church (San Staë) needed a saint so as to be able to be built,
the saint (San Eustachio) needed a miracle so as to be pronounced a saint,
the miracle needed a stag in order to be seen, and we built the garden for the reindeer.

The visitors lie on the bed above the doge’s gravestone, and the garden thinks for them.

I spent the weekend weaving twigs and branches to hang from a ceiling in the town hall of Hartland, Vermont. There was to be a dinner there on Saturday night and a friend asked me to help spruce up the setting. We waded into snowdrifts to clip branches from some overgrown lilacs beside her house. The branches filled every available space in my car, and I felt like a modern-day little match girl when we gathered up the load to carry into Damon Hall.

With pruning sheers and wire we arranged four branches into a basic square, then slowly added more branches to produce a twiggy grid. Into this we wove more and more branches and twigs until the designs were fairly rigid. We hung two of these constructions with grosgrain ribbons from the ceiling and then laced them full of twinkling lights. The finishing touch: white lacy snowflakes decending down toward the tables below.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David Petrie
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 10:39:01

    Can we see photos of your finished arrangement? I’m making my daughter a forest-themed bedroom. I ordered these wall decals already (see the white urban forrest on the gray wall): http://www.zazous.co.uk/index.php?cat=Trees__Branches_and_Flowers&ActinicSID=b36290370d5171e7bf68324db2d63a1d


  2. Emily Jane
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 17:32:00

    This is fabulous! How on earth did you secure it to the ceiling? Did you have scaffolding to hold you? I’m hyperventelating just thinking of how high UP you were to secure it!

    Great job, I love the effect!


    • 129twigandvine
      Jan 25, 2011 @ 06:31:22

      Hi Emily,
      Yikes, I just reread my post and need to edit it to make it clearer that the photos are from an artist exhibit in Venice….not my own work. I’m flattered that you thought it was me!! I dream to create something so amazing. This work inspired my twig designs, which I couldn’t photograph to good effect (they are hanging from a New England town hall ceiling with ugly flourescent lights, etc… I wasn’t working with the lofty heights of an amazing church… I love that you hyperventilated. I did too. It’s spectacular. I only wish I could be there lying on one of those beds looking up at all of it.


  3. Britta
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 03:03:08

    Oh Sue, what a wonderful performance. It looks so beautiful, so magical like in a fairy tale forest. I wish I could see it in real. xo, Britta



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