With regard to the quality and the quantity of its sculptural work, the “Lichterwald” installation embodies a milestone in Gerdi Gutperle’s artistic evolution.
Each element in the “tree-forest-light-clearing” train of thought is laden with countless meanings and is situated within a grand mythological context. For thousands of years, humankind has viewed the forest simultaneously as a home and a threat, as a dwelling-place for gods and fabulous beings, as a location for serenity and meditation, as a force field, and as a place to purify the body and the soul.
Gerdi Gutperle constructs her installation from a basic form which is, in turn, ambiguous. Her austere, straight-lined tree trunks bear in themselves the image of the column and recall that trees are the archetypes on which the pillars of the temples were based and should accordingly be viewed in a spiritual context. But by zooming in on the image of the temple, the artist has at the same time also installed a refraction in which the artfully crafted exterior skin of the arboreal sculptures accentuates the individual richness of vegetative forms. Naturally, the minimalist form, when brought into sharp focus, contrasts with the richly individualistic husk of simple material, in this instance, paper made from the bark of the mulberry tree, which also immediately calls to mind East Asian art.