Artist John Grade has created a delicate sculpture that dangles from the trees in Arte Sella Sculpture Park in Borgo Valsugana, Italy. Inspired by ever-changing biological forms and natural ecosystems, his large-scale installation explores the impermanence of nature. John’s latest installation, Reservoir, appears like a chandelier glistening among the pine trees.
The dazzling, chandelier-like installation comprises 5,000 heat-formed, clear plastic compartments that each collects the rainwater or snow as it falls. The “droplets” are unique as well — delicately formed from casts of 10 different human hands cupped together and framed with steam-bent strips of Alaskan yellow cedar. The individual droplets are attached to a pair of marine nets and fishing lines which are then supported by stainless steel rings and the surrounding trees. When rain falls or snow lands the water accumulates within the Reservoir’s clear pouches, giving them their droplet-like shape. The position of the net and droplets change as well, swelling or lowering, depending on the amount of precipitation. At its heaviest, Reservoir can exceed a staggering 800 pounds; but as the water evaporates, the sculpture slowly releases into its original 70-pound state.
The sound of rain in the forest inspires John Grade’s chandelier
John came up with the idea for the outdoor chandelier by spending long periods of time simply sitting and walking through the forest, thinking through exactly why it felt so good to be there.
“I became most interested in the way rain falls through this grove of trees, the canopy delaying the droplet’s journey to the ground as well as how quiet and sheltered the forest was during heavy rain,” John reveals. “I wanted to make a sculpture that responded to the rain directly as well as a sculpture that responded to people.”
When creating the exhibition, John also wanted a movement to play a part in the structure of the chandelier. And, as part of the project, Arte Sella connected him with Andrea Rampazzo, a dance artist based in Italy. Rampazzo choreographed a performance, where four dancers would interact with the sculpture, making the installation rise and fall depending on their movements. Occurring during one day of festivities, the dance lasted 45 minutes and was performed three times during the day.
“Because we were lucky to have rainfall, the dancers were able to abruptly jerk the movements and shower themselves with water. Wind may become a significant inspiration the next time.”
Over the next couple of years, he hopes to study the movement and any unanticipated things that might occur with the outdoor chandelier to apply to the next version. He’s also testing biodegradable forms of plastic to use with the next version of the sculpture as well. You can view more of John’s work on his website, or visit his Instagram page.