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10,162 (Orlestone), 2016

oil and watercolour on canvas, reproductions of Martin Visser's 1961 BZ Slat Bench made from Orlestone Forest Scots Pine, 1947 Men of the Trees Diary and Forestry notebook with facsimile produced by the artist with the Dorset Press 

Photos: Hydar Dewachi

10,162 (Orlestone) responds to the 1947 diary of a forestry worker that I found in a suitcase purchased from a deceased estate sale in Australia. A Men of the Trees Forestry Notebook. The diary records a man’s daily life in post-war Britain – alongside his parallel daily practice of tree planting. The diary tallies 10,162 trees planted across four months as part of a reforestation project in Orlestone Forest, Kent.


Working with the Forestry Commission, this specific area of planting from 1947 was identified and permission sought for a single tree to be felled and milled to produce two gallery benches. The benches produced are copies of my own coffee table – a 1961 Martin Visser BZ Slat Bench, originally designed as gallery seating for the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The benches are conceived both as a sculptural proposition but also play a practical role in setting up a relationship between two narratives: the daily life or the forestry worker as recorded within the diary and my own daily practice of painting.


Born in Australia and now residing in London, my journey mirrored that of the forestry worker, whose last diary entry was written in Australia on 3rd June 1949 – having emigrated to my hometown. Both of us, and the diary, having journeyed half way around the globe.


Having returned it to England, I worked with the original publishers of the Men of the Trees Forestry Notebook, the Dorset Press, to produce a facsimile of their publication, now populated with diary entires from 1947.

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