With 'Art on the Meuse', Z33 and RLKM are bringing art to the Limburg Meuse Valley. Between 2022 and 2024, five artworks will appear in Dilsen-Stokkem, Kinrooi, Lanaken, Maaseik and Maasmechelen. read more
TREE OF LIFE
American artist Mark Dion breathes new life into a symbolic place: Herbricht. His tree of life is like a journey through the past, present and future of the Meuse Valley. The power of nature is at the heart of his artwork.
The circle of life
On this hill on the banks of the Meuse stands a six-metre-tall tree of life. Once there was a sea here, then an ice field, and now the Meuse, a rain-fed river. Over time, plants, animals and insects disappeared and new species took their place. Within the tree you see sixteen sculptures, all related to the ecology, mythology and history of this place. Each of them tells a specific story. The Mosasaurus takes you back 75 million years, to the time of the dinosaurs. The woolly mammoth takes you back to 10,000 B.C. The Meuse Valley is now home to animals and insects such as the earthworm, the beaver, the green frog, the blue heron and the stag beetle. The buck with the silver chalice refers to the eighteenth-century legend of the Buckriders, a local gang of robbers.
Herbricht has a special atmosphere. The hamlet lies in the river’s winter bed, where the Meuse can occupy all the space it needs. During high tide, Konik horses and Galloway cattle seek refuge on this slight hill on the bank. Nature takes over, while time extinguishes the village. The last
residents move away and no new ones arrive. All the more symbolic is this place for the tree of life. Where man moves away, nature and art take over.
With thanks to Limburgs Landschap, the residents of Herbricht and Williams & Koch.
Mark Dion was born in 1961 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He lives and works in Copake, New York. His work takes a critical look at our understanding of nature and history. Among other things, Dion is known for his spectacular cabinets of curiosities that question the distinction between ‘objective’ scientific knowledge and ‘subjective’ conceptions, such as the artwork ‘The Accused’ (2020) he developed for the Verbeke Foundation. Over the past three decades, he realised numerous artworks in public spaces, including ‘The Amateur Ornithologist Clubhouse’ (2016) in Essen and ‘Den’ (2012) in Norway. Dion’s work has recently been shown in solo exhibitions at venues including Storm King Sculpture Park, Cornwall, NY (2019), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018), Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (2017) and Museum De Domeinen in Sittard (2013).
The Tree of Life in Herbricht is easily accessible via the hiking and cycling route network. You can park in car park 17, 18 or 19 in the Oud-Rekem walking area. From here, follow the ‘Kunst aan de Maas’ signs on the walking or cycling posts. Sturdy waterproof walking shoes are recommended.
Fancy more culture and nature? Then continue your walk via the orange walking loop. This route takes in the southernmost part of RivierPark Maasvallei. You pass Oud-Rekem, which was situated on the Meuse in the distant past. In the course of time, the river shifted its bank to the east. During the trip, you will discover the capricious river and its twists and turns. The route also passes the Hochterbampd nature reserve, a natural area created after clearing.