charles jencks’ cells of life is a manmade landscape
images courtesy of jupiter artland
levels of smooth grassy planes stack atop each other in ‘cells of life’ — a monumental, on-site land installation conceived by american artist charles jencks for jupiter artland. jencks, who is educated as an architect, applies his extensive training in landscaping and planning to his massive horticulture installations. the layers of green swirl in fluid geometric shapes, cascading in sheets through the lush space.
‘cells of life’ is made up of eight landforms and a connecting causeway, which visitors are encouraged to drive across. the mounds of grass surround four lakes and a flat island where smaller sculptures are exhibited. the configuration of the landscape is influenced by the biology of the cell, the basic unit of life, particularly the process of mitosis, when one cell divides into two in stages called. the landform celebrates the cell as the foundation of life. the foundation for his interpretation is evident in the layout — from above, you can distinguish the distinct halving of two landforms, an uncanny relationship to division of membranes and nuclei.
the video below showcases ‘cells of life’ from conception to completion, outlining charles jencks’ thought process and decision making throughout the construction of the work:
jupiter artland is a venue in edinburgh, UK that showcases constructions, sculpture, and land art from contemporary leading artists — presenting art within a landscape. the artists are invited to exhibit work on the gardens, fields and woodlands surrounding a historic jacobean manor house with an 100-acre estate. the relationship of each artwork with its unique location is an important feature of the artland — every work is site specific and is integrated in some way into its surrounding environment. jupiter artland is a work-in-progess, presenting new projects and commissioning work annually.
a view overlooking two swirling cut landscapes
standing atop one of the platforms, the influence of cell biology — particularly nuclei division — is evident in its shape
the land installations surround lakes, that are part of the piece