tuula närhinen


There Xylothèque (from Greek xylos = wood) translates as 'wooden library'. It is an invention of the Enlightenment. Instead of the botanical volumes that merely illustrated the taxonomy of trees, the books themselves were to be fabricated from their subject matter wood and be bound in the bark of that tree. The interior of the book would contain samples of nuts or seeds; and its pages would literally be the leaves, the folios its feuilles.

The artwork is situated in the underground conference rooms of the Finnish Parliament House in Helsinki . I applied the idea of a wooden library to a series of conference rooms where each cabinet was designed to be furnished with different wood material and this way dedicated to a specific tree species. The wall and floor panels as well as the furniture of each cabinet were made of a different tree art, e.g. birch, pine, maple, ash or alder.

The artwork consists of colour photographs and drawings made by the tree itself. Each room has a light case with a photograph of a tree showing a luminous line traced by the branch of that tree moving in the wind. A wooden shelf carries a series of drawings made by the same branch with a pen attached to it. By paying homage to the vegetable matter from which the windowless rooms were built, the artwork creates a link to the outside world - to trees tracing the shape of wind on their branches.

Finnish Parliament House, Helsinki (2007)

See more cabinets:

  • Ash
  • Maple
  • Birch1
  • Poplar
  • Alder
  • Birch2
  • Pine
  • Elm
  • Spurce