Kew Gardens is a 326-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site located just 30 minutes by Tube from central London. The gardens boast a soaring treetop walkway, galleries and iconic listed buildings. David Nash, one of the UK’s most productive sculptors, has been exhibiting his work at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew over the course of the last year, and the exhibition includes sculptures, installations, drawings and film displayed throughout the gardens, greenhouses and exhibition spaces.
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David Nash sculpted a series of evolving artworks in the Wood Quarry at Kew Gardens between April and September 2012. This was the first time Nash had shown his process of making art as part of a major exhibition. Nash says ‘At Kew, I can show my practice as a sculptor. I’ve often felt that in the shows I’ve done before, much of the process is hidden. What’s unique about Kew is to make the process part of the exhibition.’
Nash used chainsaws to work with the properties of wood and he worked with trees from Kew that had come to the end of their natural life. Through his sculpture, Nash investigated the nature of living trees and the unique characteristics and artistic possibilities of wood. A group of volunteers answered visitors’ questions whilst Nash and his team worked with the trees and offcuts. A black board with chalk drawings illustrated the ‘work plan of the day’. You can still visit the site and enjoy two large works, Cambium Column and Scuttlers, however Nash is no longer working physically on site.
Photos by Clare Jackson