Me(n)tal Tree

Roxy Paine

Bluff, 2002


Bluff was sited just east of the Sheep Meadow along The Mall (mid-park at 67th Street) at Central Park New York.
It is a fifty-foot high tree made of brilliantly reflective stainless steel. Bluff’s heavy industrial plates formed a two-foot-wide trunk that supported more than 5000 pounds of cantilevered branches, welded together from 24 different diameters of steel pipes and rods. Its gleaming frame remained unchanged as its environment shifted from winter into spring. By announcing its grand manmade artifice rather than attempting to blend in with the surrounding real plants and trees, Bluff was a cunning reminder that Central Park is itself an artificial sanctuary, a product of city planners as much as Mother Nature.

LA tree, 2005


‘Life is found in animals and plants; but while in animals it is clearly manifest, in plants it is hidden and not evident. For before we can assert the presence of life in plants, a long inquiry must be held as to whether plants possess a soul and a distinguishing capacity for pleasure and pain.’ -Aristotle, On Plants.