By Kai Teo
Photos: Linn Petersson and Stina Olofsson
Artist: Linn Petersson
Artwork title: Nature’s Army
Theme: Diversity and expression
Location: Metro tent, Gustav Adolfs Torg, Malmöfestivalen 2014, Sweden
Display dates: 20–22 August ‘14
Malmöfestivalen is an annual city festival in Sweden plagued by throngs of drunk teenagers, bad behaviour and overpriced carnival whatever. But in the midst of all this nonsense, there’s Linn Petersson and her Nature’s Army.
Okay, Malmöfestivalen’s alright. The gigs are pretty fucking good. Especially Graveyard’s. It’s a frenzy of local bands and DJs, artists, and cool workshops. But here’s one piece of art that really hits the sweet spot, but you’ve probably missed it because you were too busy searching for the Langos stall.
Linn’s a virtuoso in botanic art (no, not flower arrangement stuff) and creates artwork and sculptures using only organic materials such as tree barks, leaves, flowers, tree vines and branches.
Last evening, she drew shit loads of attention from the curious crowds at the festival when she created her art piece on-the-fucking-spot at the Metro tent at Gustav Adolfs Torg.
Unfortunately, most were gawking at her 15 cm-tall fire red pompadour/mohawk instead of her masterpiece.
I really don’t blame them, it is, and she is, unbelievably stunning. Her work though, is something that a festival crowd would easily overlook as a bunch of wood put together to look like a bunch of wood.
But really, every piece of bark, every single flower and leaf, and every branch and log, has been carefully selected and intricately pieced together to create this series of five ‘walking’ figures that represent the soldiers of Nature’s Army.
Note: No plants were destroyed in the creation of the artwork.
Yea, you can argue that the flowers are cut and all, but hey, the plants are still alive. And the logs and branches are picked from the forest floors of Blekinge and around Malmö. The most un-organic thing that was used during the creation was the Chinese takeaway noodles that she was having for dinner.
For five hours, Linn crafted the figures and gave them life. Holding the figures together were a bamboo ‘spine’ embedded in their cores, so when the wind blows, they would actually sway gently to mimic human movements. Yep, fucking genius. So for five hours, she didn’t leave the spot, and she didn’t pee, and crouching over and stuff has also caused her a slight back injury. Now, that’s dedication.
Passers-by couldn’t really make sense of what she was doing. What they didn’t know was that she was actually building an army for Nature.
Her work is a stark reminder to the audience that Nature has its powers to take planet earth back. Humans have weapons of mass destruction, Mother Nature’s got earthquakes and volcanoes. We have cars and planes, she’s got storms and rains.
And at this rate homosapiens are destroying the biosphere, it wouldn’t be long before Mother Nature decides to deploy her almighty army and subject the entire human species to de-evolution.
The fresh flowers in her piece also depicts the eternal, yet transient beauty of nature. It tells us that Nature is not here to fight us, she's here to convince us to once again be at one with her, through her charm.
Powerful message right there, cleverly depicted through the contrast of the all-natural artwork, placed right up the concrete ass of the manmade city.
Nature’s Army is part of Metro Mixed Arts’ programme, themed Diversity and Expression, and is now on display at the green Metro tent at Gustav Adolfs Torg until the 22 August, after which the series would be auctioned off and all proceeds will go to the non-profit organisation Skåne Stadsmissionen in Malmö.