For more than a decade artist Lloyd Godman, whose studio and plant propagation facilities are based in St Andrews, north-east of Melbourne, has been exploring new directions in living sculpture using personally propagated epiphytes, i.e. plants from various genera of the Bromeliad family. These exotic plants are unique in terms of their hardiness, longevity and, most importantly, their ability to thrive without being rooted in soil. Freed from the constraints of soil and terrestrial nutrients, the plants are thriving several metres aboveground with no upkeeping required.
Since 1995 Lloyd Godman has been experimenting with air plants and is seen as the world’s leading artist in this area. During 2011-12 he invented the suspended rotating air garden which allowed plants to break their earthly confines and “fly” in space. The plants Godman works with have no soil or roots and need little water making them ideal for vertical gardens or beyond this concept in suspended and rotating forms. They grow very slowly and require little maintenance in a biannual basis he terms as super sustainability, where excess growth is trimmed to maintain the form and in turn offers a new resource to create further living art works.
The suspended plants that constitute the Rotating Air Garden reveal a new world of plant dynamism, involving an interplay between the plants, their metal framework elements, and the surrounding environment. Not only are the sculptures able to move in response to breezes, but their shadows shift position throughout the day according to the passage of the sun. “In this way my air plants achieve their artistic function of reminding us of the delicacy of the natural world,” says Godman.
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