Zoe Leonard - Tree

2011 - Erwerbung ermöglicht durch die Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst

Zoe Leonard was born in New York in 1961, where she continues to live and work today. As a committed activist, she fought especially in the 1980s and 90s for the rights of women, universal freedom of speech, the protection of ‘black’ and ‘gay identities’ and the end of the AIDS crisis. In her photographic and sculptural works, she addresses current social issues, such as gender roles, the effects of globalisation and the relationship between culture and nature.

Zoe Leonard: Tree, 1997/2011 © Zoe Leonard and Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Schlier, Britta, rba_d032591_02

Tree, 1997/2011
Tree, 1997/2011 was presented in the Museum Ludwig within the frameworks of the exhibition Before the Law. Post-War Sculptures and Spaces of Contemporary Art (17 Dec. 2011 – 22 April 2012). The exhibition posed the question of how the visual arts can broach the issue of violations of human dignity as a universal problem without becoming illustrative. Leonard’s nearly ten metre high installation comprised of wood and steel depicts a sawn oak tree that has been pieced together again with the help of metal screws and bolts. A steel construction attached to the wall holds the tree upright. As in her photographic series Tree + Fence from 1998, with Tree the artist addresses essential conditions and foundations of life, such as growth, transience, affliction, transformation and death. At the same time, she also makes reference to the complex interdependencies between nature and culture.