Something magical has been happening in the woods around the Loup River in southern France. Artist Spencer Byles has spent a year living in the area's remote woodland, creating intriguing temporary structures from natural materials. The spontaneous creations are deliberately hard to find and are unlikely to be stumbled across, but you can click through to take a tour here.
Towering woven structures, hanging pods and large-scale constellations of shapes create a theatrical or even supernatural realm within the picturesque woodland environment. The pieces seem to communicate with the viewer, playing on the tension between accident and design. The sculptures begin to disintegrate soon after their creation, something many land artists have explored and an idea that Byles is taken by. He explains, “The temporary nature of my sculptures is an important aspect of my experiences and understanding. I feel my sculptures are only really completed when nature begins to take hold again and gradually weave its way back into the materials. At this point they slowly become part of nature again and less a part of me.”
After many years travelling and making land art, the 65-year-old sculptor now prefers to keep his practice local. His next project will involve the building of so-called paper landscapes from papier mâché to create installations at seven ruin sites. He often receives offers to work commercially, but taking money for his craft doesn’t appeal. He is dedicated to working freely, within and alongside nature.
Images via Spencer Byles