Space Between is a recently commissioned, site-specific woodland sculpture at Wakehurst, (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). It’s situated in Pearcelands Wood, their newly-opened ancient woodland.
It was commissioned as part of Wakehurst’s Wild Wood Festival, 2017.
The installation is an archway which creates a portal into the woods.
It draws the viewer’s eyes to the spaces in between: between the hanging poles, between the oak trees; between branches, and also to the space above the arch.
The positioning and curvature of the arch invite the eye to continue the line, giving the overall impression of a subtle tunnel.
The piece has been described as having a subtlety and a strong clarity. Its apparent simplicity and its congruence with the surroundings mean that coming across it in the woods engenders a sense of wonderment.
The installation is orientated north-south, so that the rising sun streams through the poles, while the setting sun casts dancing shadows across them, from the surrounding foliage.
The colour and texture of the hazel poles contrast with the rougher texture of the two mighty oaks. The naturally occurring growth twists of the hazel poles give a visual rhythm, in contrast to the cleanly-cut curved line of the arch.
The horizontal oak branch (from which hazel poles are suspended) fell in the great storm of 1987. The branch was earmarked to be cut down prior to the woodland being opened to visitors for the first time this year, 30 years on. Fortunately, I got to it before that happened.
The piece stands 6 metres high, and is constructed from oak and hazel, which I sourced from the site.
Pearcelands Wood is a mature hazel coppice of about 20 acres. It has many beautiful standard tress and has been managed as a coppice for about 200 years. It is still a working coppice today.
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Photo credit (top): Jim Holden