The sculpture set into the entrance hall of the Royal London Hospital is a
“live sculpture“ in a permanent evolution through time, composed by a live Fig tree (Ficus Benjamina) and stones.
By working with a live tree and stones, my desire is to use an universal vocabulary on which, without any words, every body from any country could remember its own roots and build its own story.
My choice of a fig tree from Asia and granite from Europe is clearly influenced by the history and the life of White Chapel. From the beginning of the existence of London until now, East End including White Chapel has been the most polyglot area of the city and the poorest part of London.
The more recent immigration dates back to 1964 by the arriving of Pakistan and Indian communities.
Even if White Chapel is still composed of a Jewish community, now, the highest population is from Pakistan and India.
By using the ficus Benjamina, my desire is to work on the uniting of the occident and Orient by using a plant on which Oriental people could recognise a part of their culture and natural environment from their country of origin.
Through the use of a live tree evoluing and growing as part of the sculpture, my goal is to abolish the monotony of the site which represents anxiety and possibly suffering and death, and to reveal that happiness and life is also there.
There is a concern to establish among patients, staff of the hospital and visitors a permanent dialogue between the evolutive sculpture through its physical and psychological influence over them and the space.
Conceptually, my preoccupation is to work on the uniting of abstracted form from human concept with the live tree. Hence, my interest is to reaffirm the link between human life and its natural environment. In conceiving this sculpture, the main point is to establish a relationship between the piece in permanent evolution and the vision offered to people. On this point, my aim is to open them new vista, new expressions of the sculpture itself through time.
With the passage of time, the initial sculpture will maintain its form but will offer a unique development as only a tree can. By the “ personal “ evolution of tree, the transformation of the whole sculpture will be known over the years. May be it will follow and absorb the initial direction or may be it will grow wards up to find again a vertical position beyond the initial installation... Only time and tree itself will tell us.
N. Joiris 1997