Search graduate:

Mart Veelmaa

  • Faculty of Fine Arts
  • Contemporary Art
  • ma
  • Self-reflection: the Influence of the Forest and Nature on the Creation of Contemporary Art
  • Tutor(s): Jaan Toomik
  • Installations, videos
“The Igloo with The Golden Bough”. The installation, reused materials, golden spray, stained glass
The autor with The Igloo

The work aims to study the influence of forest and nature in the creation of contemporary art, based on the author’s introspection and reflection, as well as the analysis of the experiences of various artists.

Forest and nature have been used mainly in the context of contemporary art by giving a new meaning to forest material, as a phenomenon of land art. What is more, artists, such as the Canadian Kim Dorland, look for ways to express the forest theme through their vision. Through conceptual art, forest issues are studied, for example global warming, clearcutting, and the impact of humanity on koalas dying due to forest fires in Australia. The focus of the current thesis is aimed at the direct influence of the forest and nature on the work of contemporary artists. In other words, it covers aspects, such as the motivation of artists to spend time in nature and the effects it has on their works of art.

The theoretical part of the study gives an overview of the various author’s visions of the relationship between man and nature and compares it with the materials collected during the interviews. In the practical part of the work, the author presents his project and analyzes it in the light of the research theme of the present thesis.

The hypotheses of the research are as follows: – The so-called cleansing practices carried out in forests and nature in general have an impact on creativity. – Contemporary artists use nature and the forest to recharge and find balance, not to create art directly on the spot.

The keywords: the influence of nature on the artist, the cleansing effect of the forest, contemporary art.

The Igloo with The Golden Bough, 120×160
The Massage Table with Video of Bark the massage table, cardboard, video

The fast life creates a situation where we also need more and more time to rest. The more we struggle, the more we attack our resources. Often on non-renewable assets, so we need meditation, good food, or violence to balance the emptiness of the effort. On the other hand, hedonism is honored. People post messages on social media from food pleasures to pictures about hiking. While people strive for the pleasure of pleasure, it is still a temporary condition that can break when a person’s life is hit by a crisis or difficulty. With the work “Massage table with Video of Bark”, the author offers an opportunity for double relaxation and enjoyment. Just as nature affects the soul, body, and mind, the massage table is associated with the so-called outside influence, which subjugates the “client”. The moment you trust yourself in someone else’s hand, the situation will take over, whether you like it or not. Like nature, it spreads power over man, being purifying, frightening, or painful from guilt. The tiny opening of the headrest is in itself uncomfortable for lying on the stomach, the head is under pressure, blood flows to the face, the field of vision narrows. The massage procedure forces you to be mindful, to perceive the experience with your body and face, pushed through a tiny slit – nothing. The author combines these two experiences into one. The “client” can watch the bark of a pine tree in a relaxing position on a white leather massage table.

The autor with The Massage Table
The autor with The Massage Table
The Video of the tree bark, which you can watch when you are on the massage table
“The White Car in the Woods”, 75×73 cm, plywood, latex color, acrylic
“The White Car in the Woods”,75×73 cm, plywood, latex color, acrylic
The Video “Let me gather some energy.”
In this work, the author seeks contact with the Käsmu forest and the coastline. As if cut out of a hurrying world, he enters an empty forest. There he performs a ritual – jumping into different trees, creating contact for talking to himself and the trees..

From the beginning of March to the middle of May, on 21 days, the author undertook a trip to the forest and met nature simply on the level of being, awareness, without a practical or personal purpose. Following the example of the Japanese, these stays in nature can be called forest immersion. Most of the time, when the weather allowed, the author lingered on the forest floor and mapped and felt what was going on around him and in his mind. From the original plan to record all the internal reflections that took place in the forest, it was later possible to keep a diary of thoughts, because it was in the forest and later returning that thoughts arose that supported this research. Here are the perceptions, insights, and thoughts that emerged during and under the influence of the 21-day self-reflection project, which is presented in chronological order:
1. “It is not easy to clear your mind when you have come to the forest with a specific purpose. If you are longer, you can make observations. ”6.03.2020
2. “During the studies of the Finnish nature tourism guide, we had to make nature observations. My teacher suggested rolling in the moss so that you could smell the best: pungent decay. I can smell it now.” 7.03.2020
3.“ Interesting, there are no thoughts, there is only sightseeng, a glittering spider web. ”8.03.2020
4.“ The moss is soft, moist, the air is crisp. 14.03.2020
5. “When you are in the forest, the forest will take you over, you can be one or the other, not both.” 15.03.2020
6. “Nature is the main place to be. From time to time you have to go outside of the forest and do some art. “21.03.2020
7.” The Feeling and Sole is natural, the Idea and Thinking is The Modern Art. “28.03.2020

8.” Nature is always bigger than our mind. “29.03.2020
9.” I feel fear in a strange forest when I go alone. Then I have to calm down. ”3.04.2020
10.“ I am probably not a person who need to go in deep forest, my thoughts will fly in open space. ”4.04.2020
11.“ An artist is like an observer in nature, he is different from nature, he does not adapt to nature. ”5.04.2020
12 “What do I have to put on the table for contemporary art?” 11.04.2020
13. “If you observe lichens, their patterns are like a piece of art.” 12.04.2020
14. “The first photo of me is, where, according to my mother, I look at a pine tree that fluctuates in the storm. “18.04.2020
15.” The Igloo is separation from nature, you are there with your space, you can’t connect with nature. “19.04.2020
16.” To me, pine branches remind me of great Chinese mythological dragons. They don’t exist either, there is magic. ”25.04.2020
17.“ Nature would be like a big supermarket where we try to find goods and treasures to pleasure us. ”26.04.2020
18.“ When you move from one state to another, when you are no longer busy, but has not yet reached the so-called fredjuss`is mode, than you are the most here and now. ”
19.“ Nature creates superstition, magic, there must also be magic in art and the je ne sais quoi factor must emerge. ”2.05.2020
20.“ The only reflection counts in everything. ”3.05. 2020
21. “I don’t know if a long stay in the forest and in nature takes the desire to engage in contemporary art, or whether there are any ideas. So far, a lot of thoughts have emerged. ”9.05.2020

The documentary of self-reflection process in the woods.
The documentary of the creation process during wrhiting the MA theses