Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oak Tree

While I was supposed to be writing my paper due tomorrow, I was thinking about a work of art that hangs in the Tate Modern in London. I saw it years ago, and it crosses my mind every once in a while. It's called "Oak Tree" by Michael Craig-Martin. It cheered me up today, so I thought I'd share with everyone.

It looks like this

It's simply a glass of water on a glass shelf, accompanied by a scripted "interview" which hangs below and to the left. This is the text of the interview.

The interview isn't meant to explain the piece, it is part of the piece. I find it hilarious.


  1. Thanks! That's brilliant. This is my favorite bit:

    "Q. It seems to me that you are claiming to have worked a miracle. Isn't that the case?

    A. I'm flattered that you think so.

    Q. But aren't you the only person who can do something like this?

    A. How could I know? "

  2. Nice play on transubstantiation, Some defender of consubtantiation no doubt . . . :)

  3. Mike, funny you should say that, because I was thinking the same thing as I read through the piece. But i wonder if that's what the "artist" (I'm stingy with that word) was getting at. Read the 2nd to last exchange:

    Q. Did the particular oak tree exist somewhere else before it took the form of a glass of water?

    A. No. This particular oak tree did not exist previously. I should also point out that it does not and will not ever have any other form than that of a glass of water.

    Definitely not transubstantiation, in which the host becomes the actual flesh of Jesus (albeit while bearing the accidents of the bread).

  4. This just might be my absolute favourite work of art. I am so impressed by the interview, and overwhelmed by what might be a subtle critique of certain sorts of epistemologies and accounts of facts.

    I will try to reproduce this art work in my apartment or office, and will print out the interview. I do not know if I will succeed at actually converting the glass of water into an oak tree that looks exactly like a glass of water, but it seems worth a shot.

  5. I'm also thinking about this oak tree from time to time.
    I was at London in the 2003 and still can't forget the feeling.
    I'm sorry to be an anonymous user, but I do not have a blog on this server.

  6. This was probably one of the best pieces of artwork i have ever seen. I recommend going to the Tate and checking it out, it is AMAZING. the Tate also holds some other great pieces of art

  7. More like changing a glass of water into a pile of cash.
    Come on this is rubbish art and should be titled 'Bullsh*t'.

  8. im sorry but i do not see how this could be classed as art my 5 year old brother could produce better.

  9. i am writting about this piece, i find it boring at uninteresting, in fact the only good thing about is the interview and i hate so to say this but writting isn't really art surely it is classed and litreture. I am finding it hard to relate in any way to this piece other than the interview and just can not grasp the idea of this and would appreciate any help please!