Dennis Oppenheim, a key figure in the US Land Art movement, is an influential international artist who for five decades has created sculpture, installations, interventions, performances, actions, happenings and photographic works. His work is characterised by a constant shifting of style and ceaseless creative output. Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components, a flamboyant large-scale work, will be on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 30 January 2010, and is both the first time that sculptures by Oppenheim have been on display at YSP and the first time this work has been shown in the UK.
Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components (2006) comprises a highly artificial landscape formed of fluorescent trees, fake hedgerows, seemingly genetically modified flowers and the Trees, which have branches laden with a range of curious domestic artefacts including baths, toilets, sinks, dog kennels, dustbins, plastic chairs and parts of fences. This installation was created for the 2006 exhibition Alternative Landscape Components: A New Land Art at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, New York and three outdoor locations across the city.
As with much of Oppenheim's earlier work, the Trees act as a dialogue, this time between the natural and artificial landscape and as a comment on the act of creating environments. The first location for this work, the seemingly natural environment of Central Park, was purposefully designed and manipulated by man. Similarly, the Bretton estate, home to YSP's 18th century rolling landscape, was originally a carefully designed private pleasure ground and now, as a open air gallery, provides a contrasting backdrop to Oppenheim's installation. Oppenheim also explores the mechanisms and communication of how artistic ideas are formed - the emotions we experience as the viewer and how involved we become in the work. His work often uses an element of risk or humour in order to fully involve the viewer and communicate his experience of the creative process.