Siamese Trees, 2018-19

Siamese Trees
2018-19
electric wires, metal, circuit boards, fittings

In her works Reena Kallat seeks answers to perennial human conflicts by probing the natural world, often mixing the botanical and zoological to examine the political. In Siamese Trees, electrical wires have been painstakingly woven into inverted trees that conjoin to form human lungs. While the trees initially appear uprooted, they endure and proliferate into unified composites. National trees of countries that share a conflicted border symbolically unify, disregarding man-made borders and claiming an integrated natural habitat. Interrupting human geographies of conflict, the merger of national trees of Thailand (Ratchaphreuk) and Cambodia (palm) form Ratch-yra Palm; while those of Mexico (Cypress) and US (Oak) form Cy-Oak; Man-yan for Bangladesh (Mango) and India (Banyan) and Pine-iscus for North Korea (Pine) and South Korea (Hibiscus).
A recurring motif in Kallat’s work is the electrical cable, a symbol of contact and a conduit for energy and ideas, that the artist weaves into the shape of barriers and barbed wires. Kallat has been deeply interested in the fact that trees have subterranean channels of communication and share an evolved underground social network, sustaining one another through a web of roots. “I often think of these conjoined forms as an allusion to nature’s defiance of artificially imposed, man-made divisions on the ground; a poetic provocation from the past or a proposition for an imagined future where indeed they may reunite”, the artist says.

Installation view, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai

Siamese Trees – (Ratchyra-palm)
2018-19
electric wires, metal, circuit boards, fittings
24 x 21 in. l 61 x 53 cm.

Siamese Trees (Oak-palm)
2018-19
electric wires, metal, circuit boards, fittings
24 x 20 in. l 61 x 51 cm.

Siamese Trees (Man-yan)
2018-19
electric wires, metal, circuit boards, fittings
24 x 17 in. l 61 x 43 cm.

Siamese Trees (Pine-iscus)
2018-19
electric wires, metal, circuit boards, fittings
26 x 20 in. l 66 x 51 cm.

drawings - Siamese Trees (Ratchyra-palm)
drawings - Siamese Trees (Oak-palm)
drawings - Siamese Trees (Man-yan)
drawings - Siamese Trees (Pine-iscus)