An Italian forest seems like the ideal place for a “rainwater-collecting” installation. Dangling from the trees at Arte Sella Sculpture Park in Borgo Valsugana, Italy, John Grande designed what appears to be a chandelier hiding among the pine trees. Five thousand clear droplets, each one attached to a translucent net, delicately hang down like a swarm of fairies.
John Grande grew up in Minnesota and currently lives in Seattle. The artist gets inspiration by changing geological and biological forms and by systems within nature. Along with his team at John Grande Studio, he sculpts large-scale and site-specific installations.
The materials used: vacuum-formed plastic, wood, netting, cables, and springs.
Dimensions vary: When dry, the upper net is: 8.6 feet (h) x 18.6 feet x 17 feet. When wet, the lower net (mounted 42’ above the ground) is: 8 feet (h) x 28.6 feet x 24.6 feet.
Image courtesy of: John Grande
When rain falls, the “Reservoir’s” clear pouches fill up and start resembling droplets. As rain fills each droplet, the installation gets heavier and drops lower. When warm and sunny weather arrives, the water inside the pouches evaporates and the structure rises back to its original height.
Interestingly enough, the installation provides an ecosystem of sorts because it serves as a water resource for the surrounding landscape. However when the water evaporates, a humid environment is created and vegetation flourishes!
Luckily, the sheathed springs below pulleys limit the installation’s vertical range of motion so that it remains at least ten feet above the ground at all times.
If the installation is part of a performance-art feature, “Reservoir” can be manually manipulated to rise and fall on cue. The movement can mimic the choreography of the dancers; the sloping topography around the clearing allows the audience a great vantage point directly beneath the cloud-like mass, as well as a view slightly above the continuously-changing sculpture.
“Reservoir” is contracted from heat-formed plastic parts that are framed with steam-bent strips of Alaskan yellow cedar. Each individual droplet is attached to a marine net with a fishing line which is incubated with stainless steel to maintain tension and support the tree trunks above the structure.
The pouches are formed from casts of human hands cupped together. Ten different sets of peoples’ hands were used to create a variation in scale!
About the project, Grande reveled, “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 a heavy rain. I wanted to make a sculpture that responded to the rain directly as well as a sculpture that responded to people.”