Claudia Comte, I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees (2019). Installation view. Photo: Roman März
I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees
For her first exhibition in Denmark, Claudia Comte createded I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees, an immersive installation for Copenhagen Contemporary’s largest hall. The exhibition brought together sculpture, sound and performance, geometry, archaeology, and the natural sciences.
Inside CC’s 1100 sq. m hall, rows of six-metre-tall debarked trees were positioned along a black and white graphic grid on a digitally printed carpet. A large ceramic sculpture was placed at the centre of this seemingly peaceful forest enveloped by filtered light, sound, and the mild scent of resin released by the pale spruces.
Moving through the exhibition, however, a collapse of order became apparent. The trunks had been struck by a powerful force and are suspended in an entropic state. The geometrical grid of the carpet evoked the root system of the trees, which, via underground fungi networks, communicate with other trees along the forest floor. The grid – a structure relaying order and clarity – appeared to be distorted, visualising the effects of this large-scale disturbance upon the forest ecosystem, above and below ground.
Comte’s particular interest in the forest stems from her childhood spent in the Swiss countryside. Known for her large-scale installations that bring together organic forms, digital technologies, and handmade sculptures, Comte’s work highlights the history of materiality and industrial production. As such, the spruce trees of I Have Grown Taller from Standing with Trees could be viewed as time capsules where varying climate conditions were reflected and visualized in the way the trunks’ annual rings grow at different rates. This was worth bearing in mind when walking among the spruces, all approximately one hundred years old.
The morphing contours of Comte’s sculptural work suggest organic life. Her high-spirited approach to nature’s beauty and strength aims to evoke appreciation beyond reverence. The exhibition’s graphic language recalled teenage discovery and comic-book adventures, inspiring awareness of the Earth’s fragile ecosystems through a renewed love of the environment.
Visitors were invited to walk amongst the trees, climb the fallen trunks, and take in the views of the collapsed forest. Evoking early memories, visitors were welcomed to engrave their names or statements into the trunks. The artist also invited the audience to participate in a series of performances scheduled for the exhibition period.
Claudia Comte was personally involved in the process of sourcing the trees and for every felled tree two new were planted.
The exhibition was supported by
Pro Helvetia, Embassy of Switzerland in Denmark, ege og Kvadrat
About Claudia Comte
Claudia Comte (b.1983) is known for her immersive environments consisting of sculptures, paintings, digital technologies and interactive installations, which are often activated by performers or the audiences themselves. Comte studied at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) and the Haute Ecole Pédagogique, Visual Arts. Recent exhibitions include: The Morphing Scallops, Gladstone Gallery, New York (2019), Electric Burst (Lines and Zigzags), Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis (2018), When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, König Galerie, Berlin (2018), Zigzags and Diagonals, MOCA Cleveland (2018), Swiss Performance Now, Kunsthalle Basel (2018), 10 Rooms, 40 Walls, 1059m2, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne (2017) and Desert X, Palm Springs (2017).