The Kilmardinny Tree, by Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

19.12.17 / By Esmee Thompson-Smith /

Elpida sourced a fallen tree in the grounds of Kilmardinny which she has reinvented & given a new form, inverted & guilded in gold leaf. The artist worked with a group of volunteers to prepare & create the work which pays reference to the Calico industry & Robert Dalglish.

Employing nature as both subject and medium, this ambitious and poignant contemporary art piece will offer a poetic rupture in the grounds of Kilmardinny House. The work will encourage visitors to view the past in a new way, and will highlight the sensitive balance at play between present, past and future. As such, in addition to the creation of visually striking intervention, this piece will also deepen engagement with and appreciation of the rich historical and cultural heritage of Kilmardinny House.

Kilmardinny House being one of this area’s most iconic buildings, in sunlight the gilded tree will draw visitors in from a distance acting as an addition to the dramatic colour of the surrounded trees that forms a spectacular patchwork in the garden, celebrating nature and man’s engagement with it.

I have used a design work from an existing piece, currently at the Auld Kirk Museum, believed to be the only original Calico printing piece left. At the same time referencing to Robert Dalglish, a Member of Parliament for Glasgow, who acquired Kilmardinny in 1853, was the head of the extensive Calico printing firm of Dalglish Falconer & Company.

This ‘Kilmardinny Tree’, reflecting the cycles of ownership, curation and patronage, development and beauty of Kilmardinny House and Gardens, exploring the tension and delicate balance between man’s use of nature as resource and decoration and our interaction/impact upon it.

For me, the act of being ‘uprooted and rooted again’ is a conceptual act; the giving of a second chance. The living trees surrounding the work will continue to grow and the upside-down tree, will continue to age and decay.