Nature speaks for itself, while art amplifies whatever nature has to say. Artist Luca Gnizio has cut a niche for himself in amplifying the communications of nature. His latest project, Forsoultree, speaks more than words could. Yet, it is a project that goes beyond the creation of an artist. It features more than a hundred years of nature’s work ingrained in a dead tree trunk.
The project started with the accidental discovery of a century-old Holm Oak tree trunk that had been brought down by nature. Located at the grounds of Villa San Michele, the trunk sits on part of the Monumental Park of Monte Ceceri —where Leonardo da Vinci did tests for his flying machines.
Unlike Leonardo’s art, which has often left us with thousands of unanswered questions, Forsoultree was documented right from the start. From the moment the trunk was found, deliberate efforts to preserve and document started. The decision to call in Luca Gnizio was immediate. When he was called in, he immediately thought of giving the dead trunk some life.
Forsoultree tries to create life and meaning out of a dead tree by merging it with the surrounding environment. Over the past decade, Gnizio has made a name for himself, establishing a whole new form of art that collaborates with nature. In his work, he focuses on three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.
The Forsoultree takes on various aspects of his artistic approach. The aim of this project was not only to reuse but also to preserve and give life. The reason for trying to give life to a dead trunk can only be seen through the work itself. Anyone looking at the scene can be fooled into thinking that it is scripted.
Traditionally, this type of wood would be considered waste. To Gnizio, what most people call waste can be repurposed to give more meaning to life. He has managed to create new levels of beauty with the trunk, merging it with the natural environment and using it as the focal point.
Notably, it is the conversion of parts of the trunk into seats. He has managed to create two unique seats with the trunk still in its primary location. One seat gives an admirable view overlooking Florence while the other stares directly into the old quarry’s rocky walls. All around the trunk itself are breathtaking views of the park for any lover of the natural space.
If you think sitting on a dead trunk will be boring, what about bathing? Well, for now, the water is imaginary, but the basin is real. Gnizio has managed to carve out a deep basin with sufficient resting space. An adult can lie on the floor of the basin looking upwards and enjoy the serene surrounding nature. Unfortunately, the basin is only for artistic purposes. You may not be able to bathe in it, but you will surely enjoy the views.
“Forsoultree speaks of beauty and respect and reminds us that nothing belongs to us on this earth, where we are simply passing guests,” explained Luca Gnizio. “By physically entering the tree, we can establish an intimate and sensory dialogue with that part of us that is innate.”
Born in 1981 in Lodi, Gnizio inspired many through his unique sense of art. He uses what could be termed as rejects in the traditional sense and turns them into meaningful art. Since 2009, he has introduced a new field of art known as ECOSOCIAL. This new field is now internationally recognized and is often used by fellow artists to communicate different issues in society. Most of his work is made of recycled materials pushing many to be ecologically and socially conscious.
Gnizio art offers an opportunity for us to learn more about our environment and also appreciate life as it is, saying, “Forsoultree takes us into the depths of things, where primitive sensations are born, and connects us through our senses with a piece of eternity.”
Images via Alessio Guarino and Luca Gnizio