The Symbolic Meaning of Tree
Grunt gallery is pleased to present Christoph Runné’s 16mm film installation entitled “Baum”. “Baum” uses multiple 16mm film projections to create a sparse and virtual forest that is traversed by a solitary figure that appears both rooted and moving throughout the frames. The cyclical and repetitive movement of the abstract wanderer suggests a passage of time, and a path through the subconscious as the drifter searches for his or her place. An attempt to give form to intangible abstractions, such as “longing” or “isolation,” is evident in the discontinuous flickering of the trees caused by the single-frame footage shot of a motion picture camera—a staccato movement suggestive of Morse-code communication or the arrhythmic pressing of typewriter keys. Through this work, Runné explores the visual symbolism of the tree. While the human condition often seems caught in cycles of hopelessness, homelessness, poverty, and “uprooted-ness”, caused by socio-economic strife, wars, and refugeeism, despite great wealth, education, and promise which should be able to allay suffering— Trees, in contrast, stand vigil; firmly rooted— steadfast reminders of survival, regeneration, and hope within natures’ grander cycles. Man’s reflection on his place in nature is timeless, and the poetic metaphors which trees inspire are as relevant in a contemporary context as they were in antiquity.
Whether seeing such things as a "man in the moon," or finding faces and recognizable shapes in the clouds, humans have always searched for reflections of themselves within their surroundings. While the human condition often seems caught in cycles of hopeless transience, nature--and in particular, trees--by contrast, stand as rooted reminders of survival, regeneration, and optimism. Trees have come to represent continuously renewed vigour and victory over death.