David Edward Allen: graft

Private View/Publication Launch:                   

Thursday, 12th November  6-9pm


Show Runs:    

Friday, 13th Nov. – Saturday, 12th Dec. 2015


Opening Hours:  

Fridays and Saturdays 2-6pm


SE8 Gallery is pleased to present “graft”, an exhibition by the Berlin-based British artist David Edward Allen. His works examine notions of space, contrasting wilderness with managed terrain.

The exhibition consists of two new works that have evolved over several years. Pear tree presents a series of photo-collages and drawings depicting the results of the process of grafting branches from one tree onto another.

The action, however, is an aesthetic one, the trees becoming artworks whose growth is determined through addition and subtraction, forming a living bricolage. Allen describes his methodology as ‘a kind of reversed sculptural process by removing material from the space in which it has formed.’

The distinction between the natural world and cultivated land is reprised in the video harvest, which shows silent footage of a large tree being felled. As the screen fades to black the sustained howl of the chainsaw, produced as a separate audio-track, fills the gallery space. Its tone is aggressive and relentless, rising and falling as it encounters knots of resistance; it upsets the human ear and sentiment, since we reserve special affection for trees.

The wood is in fact a managed resource. Trees are grown in a sustained manner to be harvested and sold, to be turned into furniture or pulp, as required. Shorn of its object status, a tree becomes simply wood, reduced to materiality and commercial gain.

Allen’s work points to a symbiotic relationship between nature and culture, giving equal weight to both. Here, the world as a poetic, unknowable entity exists side-by-side with a prosaic and managed eco-system, sustained by the human hand and guided by the twin principles of aesthetics and capital.


Thursday, 12th November 6-9pm: Launch of a limited edition vinyl publication.


Listen to David Edward Allen in conversation with William English and Nicolas de Oliveira on Wavelength, Resonance FM 104.4 on Friday, 13th November 2:30-3:30pm


David Edward Allen was born in Suffolk, UK, in 1977; since 1999  he has lived in Berlin, Germany. His work has been shown at the Museum of Installation, London, Kunsthaus Baselland, Switzerland, and the Akira Ikeda Gallery and me Collectors room/Olbricht Foundation in Berlin.