Observations: I made a tree because Beckett means a lot to me


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The Independent Culture

In a place by a road, undifferentiated, save for a Tree. How could I not accept this invitation to make a place identified by a Tree, especially for a production of Waiting for Godot destined to be staged on the Nullarbor Plain of Western Australia?

I once made a tree or at least, took a dead apple tree and tried to make it into a construction by carving its trunk and branches into square sections.I gave up. The tree that I have made for this production is its resurrection. It is rootless, travels in pieces in two silver cases and is reassembled in every new location.

I love Beckett and this play. Having been brought up a Catholic and believing up to the age of 17 that redemption was the only way that life's vicissitudes could have meaning, the realisation that the whole notion that anyone else's suffering could redeem one's own was wishful thinking marked the beginning of real responsibility. The need for a Tree that replaces the cross and that carries our responsibility to the natural world and our place within it was a need that I could not refuse. So this Tree is a signpost and a marker. Waiting for Godot had an important part to play in changing my consciousness from a child-like attachment to the consolations of religion to a realisation that it is the human that makes his own condition and making this object became a wonderful opportunity to reconsider human nature in nature.

'Tree for Waiting for Godot' by Antony Gormley, Castle Coole, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, until 13 September as part of Happy Days International Beckett Festival until Monday (www.happy-days-enniskillen.com)