GAD: The fortune of Garden Art Design/ Avant – garde

Georgi, Neratzia Julia ; Rafferty, Declan (2011)


People have always admired a sculpture whether it was in a prominent place or simply appear in a corner somewhere. The GAD project tackled an emerging cultural challenge defined by contemporary trends for integrated creativity between visual arts, applied arts and architecture in garden design. The historic umbilical cord between garden design and art is crossing complex evolution spacing between high quality, innovation and excellence on one hand, and risk of banality on the other. Gardens, being synonymous of quality crossings between time, culture and nature, merit a high level interaction with art and architecture. Actual gardens do achieve excellent intrinsic design quality but they also have to match due to qualifying appointments, in their cultural cradles, with art and architecture. Four European cities, Zografou (Athens), Florence, Sevilla and Tallinn, involve local groups of artists and their landscape architects in this project, aiming to make a treasure of the available knowledge, intelligence and capacities and invest them into an innovative approach assessing actual relationship, emerging tendencies and fortune between art and garden design. The concept of the project includes a distinct potential able to determine a contribution to accelerate artistic creativity development and promotion in Europe. This project examined contemporary trends and assessed their quality potential in the research of new expressions between art and gardens in Europe, through the following activities: - The state of the art was assessed and the historical references of the concept were defined. Recent ideas, designs and realizations, critics were examined and compared, in order to understand and codify the challenges. - A complexity of interdisciplinary interactions was developed between artists, garden designers and stakeholders in cities, following progression of activities through eight ateliers and three targeted visits, aiming to establish shared recommendations and to produce four collegial and inedited fresh creations in the partner cities.- Raise awareness about the project’s challenges, pleading for quality and developing a promotional campaign through four exhibitions and the production of this book, aiming to future sustainable networking through an observatory. This project aims to make a treasure of the available knowledge, intelligence and capacities and invest them into an innovative approach assessing actual relationship, emerging tendencies and fortune between garden design on one hand and visual arts, applied arts and architecture on the other. Gardens these days are evolving and interacting with a large range of artistic creations, innovating the garden concept. The recreational, relaxing and cultural purpose of a garden is more and more tackled by thematic artistic creations introducing new expressions that complement the green character traditionally obtained by flowers, plants and trees. This is the case of several recent realisations, a new avant-garde that starts unveiling a trend, but still misses an appropriate definition and categorisation. It is not the first time in their history that gardens face an evolution of their concept and design, but it is the first time that a large interdisciplinary artistic convergence is concerned: lights, sounds, colours, senses, installations, memories, music, or the more traditional thematic approaches, sculptures, shelters, waters. The most important distinction of this evolution is that is not related to the introduction of a renovated use, as for instance happened during the centuries with plants collections, zoos, greenhouses, labyrinths, but is confirming and strengthening the use of gardens as qualified public open space for recreation, reflection and relax, introducing new cultural excellences, related to contemporary arts, that strengthen and complement, re qualifying the contemporary green garden. The Art in a garden and generally within a landscape adds character to the region and reflects elements of culture. Finally, I would like to end this preface with a quote from the Greek poet Odysseas Elytis, “Landscape is not what some perceive, all just a land, plants and water. It is the projection of the soul of a nation on the matter.” Odysseas Elytis

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