CRYPT DRAFT PROJECT
PROJECT: Enric Pladevall POEM: Lluís Solà i Sala
The essential purpose and meaning of this project is a crypt dedicated to a tree. I have had the idea of making a crypt in L’Olivar with one of my menhirs, in the style of a Menorcan naveta, for years. In the 1980s, I created small bronze pieces inspired by those structures.
The Crypt started to take shape during the project for the centenary tree and during the project called The Tree of Life that I created for CosmoCaixa. Finally, I chose the site at L’Olivar, where all the meaning lies. First I had to find and choose the thousand-year-old olive tree that had the right power, morphology, presence and dimensions. Did I find it, or did it find me?
As noted by my friend Lluís Solà i Sala, author of the poem “The Tree of the World” that appears in the work, “Crypt” is a Greek word meaning hidden, covered and protected. As the famous Greek saying goes, ‘Nature loves to hide’ (to encrypt or to hide, meaning not to reveal oneself fully or not to reveal one’s secret). Later, Christianity used the word to mean the hidden part of a church. So the word has playful potential.”
If I had any misgivings about using the word crypt, due to its religious connotations, these evaporated when I saw what Lluís is talking about.
It is this sense of enigma, of protection, of revelation of a living being, a tree of the world, our world, of our land, of this place. And I want to venerate it and sublimate it in this crypt. Yet this veneration would be closer to the totems of the “Titan” series, with which I intended to explore the interrelations and contradictions between the natural world and human beings. It is the intuition that has accompanied me since the beginning of my work.
In this sense, it would move away from the crypts of the first Christians, destined for the adoration of the saints and martyrs buried within. But it would not distance itself from their “spirituality” or the concept of the sacred, more linked to the unknown of which the poet Joan Vinyoli speaks. It would be far removed from the dogmas and religions of beyond. And perhaps it would be much closer to Japanese Shintoism.
I also wanted this crypt to always be a song to life more than a funerary monument, which it is as well, because honouring the “past” is absolutely essential for honouring life, the “now” and the “tomorrow”. A place to sense the energy of a tree, to be with it and to experience its tragic vitality, both physically and emotionally. Enter the darkness, walk down a long tunnel, sense time and the space and slowly approach the light, towards the sublime. A tribute to the Tree of the World.
A cylindrical concrete crypt 8 metres in diameter, standing 11 metres high. From the outside, only an iron circle measuring 5 metres in diameter may be seen, with the text of “Tree of the World” by the poet Lluís Sola in iron letters. We can see the tree suspended with cables from the walls through a 90 cm glass eye in the middle of this circle that also allows natural light to enter the interior. The roots of the tree are aimed at the sky and the branches point to the ground.
The least that can be asked of artist is that they change the order of things.
The inside of the crypt is accessed via a staircase leading to a small underground reception area 24 metres from the entrance that uses the sloping terrain to lead to a balcony located approximately in the middle of the crypt. The olive tree remains in sight and we can walk 360 degrees around the trunk, observing the 5.5 m high water mirror that reflects its branches and doubles its distance. We can take off our shoes in the small reception area, getting closer and sensing its presence and breath. The crypt will be lit from above during the day and by artificial light at night. Only one person can enter, or two at the most. The entire ensemble must be studied accurately regarding the distances, absences and measurements, in the memory and the penumbra, in the sunlight and the moonlight. And especially regarding the person who walks there, breathing, seeing and feeling.
I wish to express my thanks in this project to my family for their patience. To my friend the poet, architect and writer Quim Español. To everyone who has contributed to the project, among them engineers, architects, technical draughtsmen and women, video artists, welders and mechanics. And above all to the patrons, large, medium and small, who have made it possible to bring this project to fruition.