Bullet holes in tree
The Forest, 2013.

The Forest interprets a small forest patch close to the military shooting grounds in Hevring, Denmark. Here, deep inside the tranquil forest, the trees bear witness to the brutality of war and the splendor of nature. Here, one finds a beautiful sound stage for the voices of birds, the humming of insects and the rustling of leaves. All of which, in an instant, is drowned out by the shouts of soldiers and the blaring sound of projectiles. Projectiles that sometimes only brush the leaves of the outermost branches, but other times, tear off branches, leaving open wounds in the bark. Projectiles that sometimes drill deep into the heartwood of the tree resulting in its death. The fallen trunk gives life to insects, animals and plants, but most often, the tree lives on, and grows as the seasons pass, a little more crippled than before. Springtime offers new life to shoots, and the tree grows on with the story of war tattooed on its surface.

 

The Forest, 2014.
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X-ray bullet tree
X-ray photograph of the embedment of projectiles in tree trunks, 2013

Cutting down tree
Tree felling, Hevring shooting grounds, 2013

“In the centre of the room, Morten Barker has put his shooting cabin in front of a sequence of x-ray photographs of branches and tree trunks in which projectiles have drilled their way into the wood. Beside it, a singed and maimed tree is seen, which the artist has retrieved from a military shooting ground northeast of Randers, in the peninsula of Jutland in western Denmark. The piece is an intelligent reflection of the clash between beautiful, innocent nature and the brutal reality of the war landscape. It reminds us that we as a belligerent nation leave traces and destruction both in the more rural part of Denmark such as Hevring and in Iraq [...] Morten Barker’s installation with the shooting cabin and the war-afflicted tree is a strong political creation.” Henrik Broch-Lips, Aarhus Stiftstidende [Danish newspaper, located in the city of Aarhus], 26. Marts 2013

The Forest, 2014.
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