First, it's here - then it's gone... Perishable artwork, as a contrast to man's claim on the land

At a meadow beside a construction site in Herlev, DK, artist Davide Ronco creates a temporary artwork from bricks moulded using local soil, challenging the permanence of human architecture. As the structure crumbles over time, it symbolizes nature's reclamation of land. A fleeting art project that questions our relationship with the Earth.

Published on 24 November 2023, text Hanne Kokkegaard, DTU

Paths meander through the grass on the small meadow located by Bakkekæret in Herlev, Denmark, where a large housing complex with several hundred apartments is under construction. The paths are shaped by craftsmen who take shortcuts to and from work and sometimes stand still and talk to each other.

At the end of November 2023, the paths were gathered in a central meeting spot – an installation of nine square meters formed from bricks moulded from sand, clay and soil from the area. The artist Davide Ronco has been the Desire Garden Caretaker in the greenhouse next to the construction site for a month and co-created a site-specific and ephemeral work of art from the bricks with children and adults from the area.

Normally, bricks are burnt at a high temperature and can last for many hundreds of years, but Davide's bricks are simply dried in the sun - and on a rainy day in November, they seem perishable.

It is precisely the point of the artwork that it disappears over time and that the grass takes over the area again. A process that stands in contrast to housing construction, which remains as a symbol of how man has claimed the Earth. However, it will take months before the structure is dissolved and the ground turns into mud. Meanwhile, the craftsmen and citizens in the area can stop in the meadow behind Bakkekæret to reconnect with nature.

The Garden Caretakers

Davide is the fourth Garden Caretaker in the greenhouse next to the construction site. He is working on a research project at the university 'Konstfack' in Stockholm, Sweden and the experiences of the Garden Caretaker will be included as a case study in his project.

The four Garden Caretakers have worked with different forms of artistic expression such as poetry, stones and fossils, sound and now earth, clay, and sand. They have had different target groups, ranging from students from the social and health worker education to, most recently, children from a kindergarten next to the greenhouse.

The next and last Garden Caretaker in Herlev will begin on February 19, 2024 with DAILY FICTION - artists TORA BALSLEV and FELIA GRAM-HANSSEN.

Bricks in Herlev