After opening in May of 2021, the Morton Arboretum’s arbor-inspired exhibition ‘Human + Nature‘ has been a huge success featuring five breathtaking sculptures by renowned multi-disciplinary South African artist Daniel Popper.
While Popper’s work has featured at hit music festivals such as Electric Forest, Burning Man, Boom Festival in Portugal, and Afrikaburn in the Tankwa Karoo in South Africa, Human+Nature is the largest exhibition of Popper’s work to date. The five 15 to 26-foot-tall sculptures were crafted exclusively for the Arboretum and placed in various locations across its 1,700-acres leading guests to areas they may not have explored before.
Today, June 17th, the Arboretum will add three brand-new sculptures to the mix, bringing the grand total to 8 gigantic arbor-inspired creations. The exhibition expansion includes two large-scale sculptures to accompany the current sculptures through March 2023 and a permanent centennial sculpture being added as part of the Morton Arboretum’s yearlong centennial celebrations.
The new sculptures include a cast aluminum head surrounded by petals named Ginkgo, a large white head sprouting mushrooms named Mycelia which was “inspired by the oldest hyper-intelligent life form on our planet” and Ephemera – a meditating figure with gramophone-like daffodil ears which “invites Arboretum guests to listen to and observe the fleeting beauty of each passing season.”
The initial Morton Arboretum release when the exhibition first opened read “built to create a sense of awe and wonder, five massive sculptures feature with the backdrop of the Arboretum’s magnificent and mature tree collections.”
“Each grand in size and appearance (20-25 feet tall), the installations include a towering interpretation of a Mother Nature figure welcoming Arboretum visitors to interact by walking inside the sculpture, large-scale human hands, diverse human facial traits interwoven with root structures and a symbolic opening of the human heart.”
In addition to using living plants in his installations, Popper also incorporates electronic music, projection mapping, and intricate LED lighting. Whilst, for now, there are no hints as to what the new sculptures will look like, you can expect more of the same immensity and awe-inspiring artistry that makes the current five sculptures so spectacular.
The centennial sculpture will be installed at the Arboretum’s core Arbor Court area outside the Visitor Center home, while the other two large-scale figures will adorn Bulb Meadow near the Maple Collection on the East Side and a secluded wooded area near Lake Marmo on the West Side.
Below are the other five sculptures currently on show for the Human+Nature exhibition that is scheduled to run through March 2023:
More information can be found at mortonarb.org/events/humannature.
[Featured image by Jonx Pillemer / @jonx]