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one christmas tree, empty

Tate Britain, home of British art, has unveiled a bare tree for Christmas this year. The Norwegian Spruce, designed by Giorgio Sadotti, is naked apart from a coiled bullwhip and a circle of silver postcards around its base. The whip will be used during a ceremony on Twelfth Night when the spirit of Christmas will be driven out of the London gallery.

In previous years, trees have been decorated with such ornaments as beeswax candles, tights, and model planes. Sadotti is known for an art practice that “celebrates the power of the nothing”. In not decorating the tree, the artist said he wanted people to recognise its “natural elegance” and think about the potential of the objects – of the tree held in time until its potential is fulfilled and of the whip waiting to be used.

“For me the challenge was to present a tree that was naturally effortless. A tree that managed to maintain its dignity and timeless grace. A tree that remained sublime. A tree that was familiar but strange, like all trees but no other. A tree that had potential to become another. A tree that talked. A tree as a tree as art.”

story & image:,


4 responses »

  1. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing this ! It is very thoughtful!

    Have an abundant Holiday Season: Something I shared on my facebook page from Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: “the Christmas season is not just a remembering of the birth of a Babe. This is also a celebration of the birth of the Christed one in all of us.”

    I am Love, Jef

  2. “A tree as a tree” Simply beautiful.

    Here is a rather fitting quote for the season:

    “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, it turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

  3. Have a blessed Christmas, Peter
    May your tree (of life) bring many unexpected surprises for you….

  4. It reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem –


    Do you think of them as decoration?

    Think again.

    Here are maples, flashing.
    And here are the oaks, holding on all winter
    to their dry leaves.
    And here are the pines, that will never fail,
    until death, the instruction to be green.
    And here are the willows, the first
    to pronounce a new year.

    May I invite you to revise your thoughts about them?
    Oh lord, how we all are for invention
    and advancement!
    But I think
    it would do us good if we would think about
    these brothers and sisters, quietly and deeply.

    The trees, the trees, just holding on
    to the old, holy ways.

    Mary Oliver

    Beacon Press, 2009


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