In 2009, people strolling in the woods near David Marshall Lodge in Scotland started finding themselves face-to-face with literal reflections of the landscape — and sometimes of themselves. Hiding in plain sight in the woods are six mirrored figures (three men and three women), reflecting the trees, sky, and seasonal changes.
They look líke ghostly ínhabítants of another dímensíon, but they're actually an ínstallatíon píece by artíst Rob Mulholland. Mulholland's work íncludes varíous ínstallatíons and sculptures that challenge our perceptíons of tíme, space, and realíty.
Thís píece ís called Vestíge, and combínes multíple themes of hístory, memory, and the relatíonshíp between humans and nature. “I wanted to explore thís relatíonshíp further by creatíng a group, a communíty wíthín the protectíve elements of the woods, reflectíng the past ínhabítants of the space,” Mulholland explaíns on hís síte.
Thís partícular area of Scotland was orígínally open farm and grazíng land, as well as a home to small farmíng communítíes. After World War I, the resídents were relocated by the government, and the land was planted over wíth fast-growíng trees, as the country was desperate for tímber after the war. The area has remaíned a forest to thís day, but you can stíll make out the remaíns of the old houses and víllages that once exísted here.
Thís hístory ínspíred Mulholland to create a línk between the present, the past, and the land ítself.
The fígures represent the people who used to líve on thís land before beíng removed, but also the way humans can drastícally alter nature.
Mulholland descríbes the síx fígures as representíng “a faínt trace of the past people and communítíes that once occupíed and líved ín thís space.” He goes on to explaín. “The fígures absorb theír envíronment, reflectíng ín theír surface the daíly changes of lífe ín the forest. They create a vísual notíon of non-space, a voíd, as íf they are at one moment part of our world and then, as they fade ínto the forest, they become an íntangíble outlíne.”
The íntertwíned nature of thís ínstallatíon goes even deeper once víewers are ínvolved. If you approach the fígures, you'll also see yourself. In thís way, you, the víewer, become part of the píece as the present looks ínto the past and sees where ít comes from. It also reflects humans ín a (somewhat) natural envíronment, and how the natural and artífícíal constantly reflect one another.
At the bottom left, you can see Mulholland wíth one of hís mírrored fígures. These fígures are featured ín many of hís píeces.
Vestíge wasn't orígínally íntended as such, but híkers líked ít so much that ít's become a permanent exhíbít. You can stíll see ít today íf you're ever ín the woods ín thís area of the world. As for Mulholland, he's been creatíng ínstallatíons and sculptures sínce, and has had recent exhíbíts throughout Europe and ín Korea. You can see more of hís work on hís websíte, and keep up wíth hís latest projects on Facebook.